Wolf House

Casa del lobo

It’s the title of a new film inspired by Colonia Dignidad, the horrific German colony in southern Chile used by the Pinochet dictatorship’s secret police. La Casa Lobo, or Wolf House, is the work of two young Chilean producers, Cristobal León and Joaquín Cociña, and recently won a prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

And it’s animated, a form not usually associated with horror, but the filmmakers used an intriguing approach: if the sinister leader of the cult were a Latin American Walt Disney, what kind film would he make? In an interview with El Mostrador, León noted that reports of abuses at Colonia Dignidad had been filtering out since the 1960s, but nothing was done about it. It is important to discuss this subject, and to find new forms and perspectives to deal with our national traumas, he said.

Here’s a link to the official trailer

Chile on the big screen

The film premiered in Chile in August

The film premiered in Chile in August

This month The 33, the long-awaited film about the 2010 mine rescue in northern Chile, opens in the United States, and nine survivors of the accident have filed suit against their lawyers, charging that they were cheated out of their share of proceeds from the film.

Following the rescue the miners were showered with gifts and trips, including visits to Disneyland and Israel, and they formed a company which they expected would help them share earnings and manage their finances. According to Luis Urzúa, the group’s leader, the contracts they signed were not what the lawyers said they would be, and they received only 17 percent of the $150 million paid to their organization. Almost all of the miners have suffered health problems in wake of the rescue, especially post-traumatic stress, and several have had trouble finding and keeping jobs. The Guardian has this story on the lawsuit:


And here’s a link to the official trailer for the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOoIBOYqHyw

Another film about Chile, scheduled to be released early next year, is Colonia, a thriller about the infamous German settlement Colonia Dignidad used by the Pinochet dictatorship as a detention and torture center (see earlier posts https://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/once-more-colonia-dignidad/ and https://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-never-ending-colonia-dignidad-horror-show/ ) Some of the settlers, however, have remained in the community and have sought to turn the site into a tourist destination. The New York Times story:


The horror, the horror

Colonia Dignidad, the secretive German settlement in southern Chile that became a detention and torture center during the Pinochet regime, is the subject of an excellent—if extremely painful to watch—documentary by Al Jazeera correspondent Lucia Newman.

“The Colony: Chile’s dark past uncovered” contains extensive interviews with survivors and opens with Newman’s own account of being shot at when she tried to visit the site years ago:


Earlier this month the Inter American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Chilean government had “excessively delayed”  an investigation into the imprisonment and torture of Leopoldo Garcia Lucero and ordered that he be awarded $32,000 in compensation. http://www.nacion.com/mundo/latinoamerica/Chile-investigaciones-Leopoldo-Garcia-Pinochet_0_1376062528.html

The Guardian newspaper has published an essay by Garcia Lucero, who has lived in Britain since 1975.  He writes that “no amount of money will be able to compensate me and my family for our suffering. The torture and forced exile destroyed our lives. But I am satisfied that the ruling sets a precedent. I hope it serves as a reminder that this should never happen again, anywhere in the world.”



And justice creeps forward

Almost a year ago I wrote about Hartmutt Hopp, the German doctor who fled Chile after a court charged him with supplying children to the pedophile leader of Colonia Dignidad, a secretive sect used by the Pinochet regime as a detention and torture center.  https://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-never-ending-colonia-dignidad-horror-show/

Hopp, 68, resurfaced in western German city of Krefeld, and as the German constitution does not allow the extradition of German citizens, may have believed himself beyond the reach of the law. But German prosecutors began their own investigation and this week said they were awaiting a special request from Chile for Germany to carry out the sentence against Hopp.  And Amnesty International has been campaigning for Hopp’s arrest, handing out leaflets about the case in the doctor’s home town.

“Normally we call for the release of prisoners,” Amnesty International’s Klaus Walter told the German newspaper The Local. “But in this case it is the other way around.” http://www.thelocal.de/national/20130409-49027.html#.UWSPNqLCaSo

The never ending Colonia Dignidad horror show

It will probably take months, or even years, but justice may finally catch up with Dr. Hartmutt Hopp, a leader of the secretive sect Colonia Dignidad, who one year ago smuggled himself out of Chile and turned up in Germany (see earlier post:https://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/once-more-colonia-dignidad/).

Chilean judicial authorities, who had convicted Hopp of child sex abuse and placed him under house arrest while they carried out another investigation into his and other colony leaders’ activities, filed an extradition request, which Germany did not accept.

But now a group of 120 former residents of the colony, also living in Germany, have brought a law suit against Hopp as well as the German and Chilean governments, which they say failed to protect them despite repeated warnings about what was going on at the settlement.  They are backed by a German human rights group, and as German law requires that crimes against children must be prosecuted within 10 years of victims reaching the age of 18, the charges against Hopp have been pared down to abuses against 25 children at Colonia Dignidad between 1993 and 1997.

During that period Chile had a democratically elected government, but it would be years before authorities were able to muster enough legal and police resources to force its closure. In the meantime, Colonia Dignidad’s leadership seemed to operate with impunity, and witnesses reported small aircraft landing at the property in southern Chile without passing through any customs or immigration controls.

Reuters has this story on the German lawsuit: http://news.yahoo.com/insight-german-sect-victims-seek-escape-chilean-nightmare-120321764.html