This documentary series plunges into the abyss of German sect, Colonia Dignidad. It shows the way of life of an isolated community that, far from the world, even influenced international politics.
Colonia Dignidad was a German settlement in Chile, where humanity was promised, and inhuman things happened. At the centre of it all was its leader, self-proclaimed preacher, Paul Schäfer.
Conversations with former cult members and previously unseen archive material reveal a world that has remained hidden until now. The footage is from Colonia Dignidad itself. It documents the shining facade of the model German settlement but also the brutal rituals behind the scenes. This archive footage was hidden underground for decades. The pictures show the beginnings of the community in Heide and Gronau, the emigration to Chile in 1961 and life in Colonia Dignidad.
Based on these hitherto unknown testimonies, the documentary series traces the complex, 50-year history of perpetrators, victims, supporters and opponents of this place, which became the epitome of evil.
Former cult members, many of them on camera for the first time, have their say and give an insight into colony history. Victims of torture, detectives and neighbours are interviewed. One of the organizers of the coup against President Salvador Allende talks about his experiences.
This results in a complex web of relationships and dependencies. Assigning good and evil, victim and perpetrator, is called into question again and again.
Who are victims and who are perpetrators? What is justice in the face of horror and ruined lives? Where does guilt begin and where does it end? What does the future hold for the colony now called Villa Baviera? Considering the decades of political and moral failure, these are questions to which there are still no clear answers.
Bettina Offermann | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gunnar Dedio | LOOKSfilm
Daniela Bunster | Surreal Films
A co-production by
LOOKSfilm, Canal13, WDR, SWR
In cooperation with
Surreal Films, Arte
Authors & Directors
Annette Baumeister, Wilfried Huismann,
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Ministerio de las Culturas – las Artes y el Patrimonio de Chile