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Colonia Dignidad - one victim's fight for justice

October 15, 2016

In Chile, Winfried Hempel is suing for compensation for hundreds of Colonia Dignidad’s victims.

Winfried Hempel Anwalt der Opfer von Kolonie der Würde
Image: Victoria Dannemann

Colonia Dignidad - one victim's fight for justice

Attorney Winfried Hempel wants justice for himself and others who suffered horrendous abuse in the former Colonia Dignidad in Chile. He is filing a class action suit against both the Chilean and German governments and demanding compensation. Starting in the early 1960s, hundreds of people suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse in the colony. Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet’s regime used it as a compound to torture dissidents. Today, only a few dozen people remain in the colony, renamed Villa Baviera. In some instances abusers and victims live side by side. They hope to attract tourists with clichéd German folklore offerings. They regard Hempel and his efforts with suspicion, calling him a troublemaker. Can he persuade the remaining victims to join his fight for compensation?