German President Joachim Gauck visited Santiago's Museum of Memory and Human Rights with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday.
They observed the different exhibits detailing atrocities committed during the rule of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The two presidents took in photographs, audiovisual material and declassified files that document the killing, torture and disappearance of Pinochet's victims between 1973 and 1990.
Gauck signed the museum's visitors book and at the end of the tour museum staff presented the German president with history books and photographs detailing the atrocities.
During his ongoing visit to Chile, Gauck has discussed the German move to declassify its files on Colonia Dignidad, a former secretive German settlement in Chile led by an ex-Nazi who oversaw daily torture and abuse and that was allegedly used as a torture site by Pinochet.
Gauck and Bachelet held a joint presser in Santiago on Tuesday at which they addressed moves to investigate the matter. Gauck stated that "the German Foreign Ministry is conducting activities aimed at opening files prematurely, which will allow us to close this dark chapter, Paul Schaefer and his Colonia Dignidad."
Colonia Dignidad, or Dignity Colony, was a German commune founded in 1961 by former Nazi soldier Paul Schaefer and a group of German immigrants in a remote part of Chile. According to estimates, thousands of people were reportedly sexually abused over 30 years before a series of lawsuits were brought against Schaefer in 1997. He fled to Argentina and was arrested in 2005 before being extradited to Chile and sentenced to 33 years in prison on charges of the sexual abuse of children. He died in jail in 2010.
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