Description: Villa Baviera (English: Bavaria Village), formerly known as Colonia Dignidad (English: Dignity Colony) is a Chilean hamlet in Parral Commune, Linares Province, Maule Region. It is located in an isolated area of central Chile, 35 km southeast of the city of Parral, on the north bank of the Perquilauquén River. It was founded by a group of German immigrants led by ex-Nazi Paul Schäfer in 1961 (Infield, p.206). The full name of the colony was Sociedad Benefactora y Educacional Dignidad (English: Dignity Charitable and Educational Society), like its precursor, which the immigrants started in the mid-1950s. The population of the place was 198 in the census of 2002.
At its greatest extent, Villa Baviera was home to some three hundred German and Chilean residents and covered 137 square kilometers (53 square miles). The main economic activity of the colony was agriculture, but it also contained a school, a free hospital, two airstrips, a restaurant, and even a power station. The colony was secretive, surrounded by barbed wire fences, searchlights, and a watchtower, and contained secret weapon caches (including a tank). It was described alternately as a cult, or as a group of 'harmless eccentrics'. In recent years, however, some facts have emerged about the disturbing history of the colony.