Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Reformed Nazi Cult trying to Open its Colony to Tourism

After reading through just a few paragraphs on Wikipedia (it’s fascinating stuff), I had already learned more about Colonia’s history than I needed to in order to understand what kind of place it was.
 Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi concentration camp doctor had almost certainly enjoyed refuge within its walls according to evidence presented by both the CIA and the world’s best-known Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Then there was the cult’s founder and leader who was a former Nazi paramedic who had escaped child abuse charges in Germany. Other compelling footnotes include a local police discovery in 2005 of two illegal weapons caches in the colony, described as the largest arsenal ever found in private hands in Chile, stashing rocket launchers, machine guns, grenades and even a battle tank.
So not only does this colony still exist today (under an attractive new name), but then I read that the current leaders are trying to open it up to tourism.

In 2014, a reporter for Bloomberg visited the secluded resort after “a four-hour train ride from Santiago past small vineyards, villages of sun-faded stucco” and writes an interesting account of his stay. On arrival at Villa Baviera, he spots the old lookout tower rising above the trees that was used to prevented escapees. A luxury hotel, a new restaurant, wedding tents, playgrounds and a swimming pool have since been added to accommodate the colony’s new tourism venture. The searchlights are gone, but there’s still a barbed wire fence.

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