|Prison camp used during the |
Old gate entrance to Villa Grimaldi
|Known for||Internment of Pinochet's dissidents during his military dictatorship|
|Operated by||DINA (when the estate acted as a prison)|
|First built||19th century|
|Number of inmates||4500 people|
|Killed||at least 226 people|
Villa Grimaldi is considered the most important of
For most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the three-acre estate was a gathering place for many of Chile's artists and intellectuals. Over the years Villa Grimaldi's various owners hosted parties and cultural events. The structures included meeting rooms, entertainment halls, and a theater, as well as a school that was open to the entire community. It was a gathering place for many left wing and progressive cultural and political figures during the
This liberal atmosphere changed suddenly when
Villa Grimaldi was taken over by the DINA, Pinochet's secret police, under Colonel Manuel Contreras and became an interrogation center under the cover of an electrical utility company. It was referred to by the government as Cuartel Terranova, but continued to be referred to as Villa Grimaldi by the greater population.
An estimated 4,500 people were detained at Villa Grimaldi, and of those at least 226 "disappeared" forever. Victims included
The forced voyeurism exercised at Villa Grimaldi has been likened to places like
By 1978, Villa Grimaldi was no longer a detention center. It was sold to a construction company which demolished the buildings with the intentions of redeveloping the estate into housing complex. La Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos de Peñalolén y La Reina (The Permanent Assembly for Human Rights of Peñalolen and La Reina) was a community led movement that found out about these plans and initiated a campaign to redevelop the land into a memorial of the lives lost there in the name of human rights and the preservation of historical memory.
Villa Grimaldi as a memorial site was first opened to the community on December 10, 1994. The Villa Grimaldi Peace Park was subsequently opened in March 1997.