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The Bizarre Nazi Colony That Inspired the Orphanage in The Golden Doves: Colonia Dignidad

By March 16, 2023July 26th, 2023No Comments

Many of the things about the Nazis post-WWII seem too bizarre to be true, including Colonia Dignidad, but it was all too real. Once I learned of it during my research for my first novel, Lilac Girls I knew I had to use it in a novel one day, and it became the inspiration for my South American setting in The Golden Doves.

Colonia Dignidad  was a colony in Chile, settled  by a group of emigrant Germans after WWII ended, and became a Nazi stronghold protected by the Chilean government. A highly secret organization, it became home to more than three hundred German and Chilean residents, and housed a school, a hospital, and an airstrip.surrounded by barbed wire and featuring watch towers that could be seen from all parts of the colony.

This cult-like compound was led by Paul Schafer, a former colonel in Hitler’s army who survived the German post-war years under the cover of being a Lutheran pastor and running an orphanage near what was then the West German capital, Bonn. Schafer fled to Chile in 1961, taking many orphans and followers with him, aided by an underground Nazi network in South America.

Colonia Dignidad became notorious for separating local parents from their children, abusing the female children and adults living there, and for medical experiments. The Colony strictly separated genders and when a child was born, it was taken from its parents biological parents and raised by nurses in a group called The Babies. To the outside world, it seemed a prime example of German efficiency, cleanliness and communal work, but later, the abuses were uncovered, including mass graves containing hundreds of bodies. The CIA and Simon Wiesenthal both claimed that Josef Mengele the infamous concentration camp doctor spent time at the colony.

This is just one of many excellent articles about Colonia Dignidad and provides information about The Sinister Sect, the fascinating Netflix series about Colonia Dignidad told in the survivors own words.:     https:www.thenation.com/article/culture/sinister-sect-colonia-dignidad/

 

 

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