tv Focus on Europe PBS May 16, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ michelle: hello and welcome to focus on europe where we take a look at stories from across the continent that are impacting the lives of its citizens. i'm michelle henery. thanks for joining us. coming up on today's show -- turkey's pipe-carving tradition goes up in smoke . holidaymakers fear clear -- holidaymakers steer clear of belgium and survivalists in poland prepare for disaster. for the people who joined colonia dignidad, a secretive sect, secluded in the andes mountains of chile, there was no escape. founded in 1961, by germans, most of them former nazis, there
horrifying events unfolded, including torture, slavery and child abuse. at that time , german diplomats in chile did nothing to stop the atrocities. now its victims, including erick zott, hope that germany's decision to declassify files about the group will finally help them get justice. reporter: this is erick zott's first visit to berlin in years - , a trip in decades past he would not have been free to embark on. his time trapped in the infamous colonia dignidad cult has left him traumatized, not least because of the torture he was subjected to. >> colonia dignidad remains something that i can never forget.
attitudes towards it have improved today, as has the will to investigate what happened. but the experience is there, and will stay forever. reporter: zott was among those who openly challenged chilean leader augusto pinochet. critics of the dictator were swiftly rounded up, and colonia dignidad was among the regime's torture centers where they were held. the commune had been founded by german immigrants in 1961. the cult's leader, paul schafer, brainwashed adults and sexually abused their children. isolated from the rest of chile, the inhabitants were essentially reduced to slave labor, while the the colony's basements saw appalling atrocities. >> the electric shocks never ended, and for a long time without them even asking questions. i suppose the point was to break any last remaining emotional or
physical resistance. reporter: erick zott came to berlin last week at the invitation of the german government, together with other victims. many of them accuse the authorities of west germany and then unified germany of turning a blind eye to the reports about colonia dignidad. german foreign minister frank-walter steinmeier has acknowledged that mistakes were made. >> the embassy failed to insist the that german nationals, which the majority of colonia's residents were, be allowed to speak to consular officials. the foreign office and embassy lost their way in a conflict of interests -- maintaining sound relations with the host country and protecting human rights. >> not the apology victims had been hoping for, but the german government will now be declassifying files on the colony.
erick zott is happy to see berlin now taking these steps. >> i value what the minister said. i think it's a new start on this front. >> not all of the victims invited to berlin see things that way, however. >> what's missing is an undertaking to compensate us. i left the colony a decade ago, and we're still waiting. reporter: and they're waiting for the perpetators to be punished. hartmut hopp was paul schafer's number two in colonia dignidad. also head of the hospital, he is said to have used psychiatric drugs to pacify residents. in 2011 the chilean authorities sentenced hopp to five years in prison for aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of minors, but he'd already fled the country
for germany. his citizenship here has protected him from extradition. so far. >> there's been very little progress in terms of prosecutions in chile, and practically nothing in germany. some of the perpetrators of colonia dignidad are fugitives who have been sentenced in chile. people like hartmut hopp have fled to germany to escape justice, while investigators here are not doing enough in my opinion. >> born in chile, erick zott now lives in austria. his entire time in colonia was as a prisoner of the chilean secret police. the least he hopes for is that one of the culprits from back then shows remorse. >> if just somebody would say sorry for something. that would mean a lot to me.
we all deserve something like that. >> colonia dignidad is now known as villa baviera. and that rebranding as a "bavarian village" includes bizarre attempts to attract tourists, with events including a munich-style beer festival. the colony is currently home to around 150 people with perpetrators and victims living as next-door neighbors. nothing, neither a museum nor even a commemorative plaque, now reminds visitors of the horrors this place witnessed. michelle: you might be excused for thinking that smoking laws in europe were relaxed. after all what would a gallic shrug be without a galouise? but europe's anti smoking laws are becoming increasingly tough , with turkey having some of the strictest. the country bans smoking inside public buildings and workplces and is contemplating extending the ban to outdoor areas as well.
this has not only stopped people from lighting up, but has also proved devastating to the country's meerschaum pipe industry. renown for centuries, te material is mined in northwest turkey and the pipes made by hand. to better understand the impact of the industry's collapse, we travelled there and met with one of the last pipe carvers. reporter: burhan yucel belongs to a dying breed. for over 60 years he has been carving miniature busts, figurines and pipes from meerschaum. it's a craft that requires supreme patience and precision. >> in europe meerschaum used to be called "white gold". pipe-smoking is old-fashioned and on the wane, but the worst thing are the anti-smoking laws, and not just in europe. my sales have dropped by 70 percent. >> eskisehir in northwest turkey
is the cradle of the industry. hundreds of families used to make a living from fashioning meerschaum pipes. meerschaum, german for "sea foam," is a mineral stone that is soft and therefore easy to carve, and, crucially, non-flammable. eskisehir has craftsmen such as burhan yucel to thank for its prosperity. but the future looks anything but bright for the master carver. even here in his home town fewer people are now smoking meerschaum pipes. at the same time, stricter anti-tobacco laws introduced in 2008 mean that in some places even smoking outside cafes is banned. turkey's president recep tayyip erdogan has been personally heading a campaign against what he calls the "vices" of alcohol and tobacco. he once relieved a man of his cigarettes in front of the media, urging him to kick the habit. but many men and women on the street do not take kindly to being told what to do:
>> you can't smoke anywhere now! and yet there's a certain sophistication about pipe-smoking. you don't smoke on the street. you need an accommodating environment to enjoy your pipe. >> the meerschaum filters out 80 percent of the nicotine. but most of the anti-tobacco people are unaware of that. >> the store yucel runs with his daughter struggles to sell pipes nowadays. they manage to make ends meet selling jewelry made from meerschaum. and meanwhile, cheap rival products manufactured from meerschaum chips are making life even more difficult -- as the government looks on, or rather the other way: >> sadly, pipe smoking is decreasing. but we hope we can at least export our carved pipes as decorative objects, and art. but for that we need support
from the government. >> meerschaum carver yucel gave u such hopes some time ago. just outside eskisehir are the pits where the valuable mineral is mined. here, too, business has slowed to a fraction of its former capacity. only now and again do workers descend into the ramshackle shafts 25 meters underground. all in all a sad sight for burhan yucel. >> you won't find a stone like it anywhere else in the world. old customers from the us have told me there's meerschaum in kenya as well, but that it's not as white as in turkey. >> for 200 years meerschaum from eskisehir was considered a
decent alternative to ivory. but as both the mineshafts and workshops close down, pipes crafted from the "white gold" from turkey are likely to die out after burhan yucel. as we head into summer, many of us are planning holidays abroad whether it be a city break, a trip to the countryside or a visit to the coast. but tourists are shying away from europe this year. and in particular, belgium. in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings that took place in the capital, brussels, travellers are afraid it could happen again. this fear has left many of belgium's most popular destinations, like the stunning beaches near ostende deserted. belgium's coastline along the north sea is 65 kilometers long. the seaside resorts are small but they are the region's most important source of income. drawing some 28 million hotel reservations and 17 million daytrippers, it's usually the most touristy part of the country.
but the recent terrorist attacks triggered fear that the industry could face financial losses. half an hour away is picturesque bruges. it's usually a tourist magnet. but the carriage drivers have nothing to do at the moment. they've never seen their city so empty during this season. >> no, we've never had this kind of a standstill. there's hardly anything happening. >> it's been very calm since the attacks. it's very noticeable that people are staying away from bruges and the whole of belgium. reporter: bruges has a problem, and not only bruges. there have been thousands of cancellations since the terrorist attacks. from all over the world. >> our guests ncome from britain, from the us, from japan, even from australia, and china.
they've been frightened off by what happened and are staying away for now. reporter: over 12,000 jobs in brussels are in the hotel sector, thousands and thousands more depend on the wider tourism industry. the few visitors who are here at the moment aren't necessarily interested in tourist knick knacks. yousef zideian is feeling the pinch. he's been drawing on the grand place for 18 years. and he reporter: i heard from my friends, which is the horsemen here, flower sellers, or many shops and restaurants around, i know i have many friends which have restaurants and they said they have much much more less people. >> according to the hotel association, reservations have fallen by between 30 and 40 percent. not only because of fear.
since the attacks, brussels airport, belgium's biggest airport, has not been functioning at full capacity. the post-attack consequences are like aftershocks all over the country. in bruges, it's mainly overseas visitors who are staying away. >> now we're sometimes going out with only two people. usually the boats are full and there are queues. but that's not the case at all now. reporter: those who do make it to bruges can enjoy the city without masses of tourists. even if they can't quite forget about terrorism. >> terrorists are everywhere in the world you see and these attacks can happen anywhere so i'm not scared of them, the motor for them is to scare us. i'm not scared. >> there's a european study which says that after an attack, the situation returns to normal within six weeks. we hope that we'll soon be welcoming many tourists again
with open arms. >> bruges would like to see more tourists braving their fears. and so would the rest of belgium. voters in britain are about to make a decision that has the -- michelle: voters in britain are about to make a decision that has the potential to affect the lives of millions across europe. next month they go to the polls on whether to remain a member of the european union. some experts fear that if the uk chooses to leave, the decision could begin the process of unraveling the eu. other member countries might come forward with special demands that could weaken the coherence of the bloc. yet the more immediate effect could be the break-up of the united kingdom itself. while polls in england show that the upcoming vote will be close, a majority of voters in scotland, like bagpipe maker alan waldron, feel close ties to the continent and want to stay in the eu. reporter: african blackwood from tanzania.
alan only uses the best for his bagpipes. he makes scotland's most famous instrument in his workshop. painstaking work for tradition's sake. >> i want to be scottish within europe. the concept of britishness isn't a really good thing for me. >> alan not only feels connected to the continent of europe in emotional terms but also for business reasons. his workshop is in the small central town of stirling. but most of his customers are from other more far-flung parts of europe. a third of his bagpipes go to germany and france. he's a bit worried about the upcoming eu referendum in the united kingdom. >> for my business it would be a lot of headache, the administrative, the hours i
would have to put in for extra sales of things which go to the european union countries, it would be really problematic. >> alan is one of many scots who want to stay in the eu. according to polls, two-thirds of the country do. in many ways, scotland is different from england further south. much of the population is more socially-minded. much of it wants little to do with the elites in westminster. >> some people would say that there's a tradition in scotland of greater engagement with the continent. for centuries, france was scotland's ally against england and some people say that that basic worldview still remains in scotland to some extent. >> two years ago, scottish voters opted against independence from the united kingdom in a referendum. the head of the scotish national party who had led the "yes" campaign stepped down. but his successor nicola sturgeon has been rising in the ratings ever since. proud and self-confident, she's also been flexing her muscles in
the eu debate. her party is currently very pro-eu. >> if scotland were to vote in favor of eu membership and the rest of the uk were to vote to leave it, if scotland in other words were to be outvoted, then there is a real chance that that could lead to a second referendum. >> many people still hanker after independence, so the upcoming eu referendum could be a means of bringing the subject back to the table. not all scots want independence. this group feels more connected to the united kingdom than to the eu. the right-wing populist ukip party and labour have joined forces to call on scottish voters to leave the european union. but it's not always easy to convince people on the street. >> what's going to evolve from this stage to the next? have you got a set agenda, and a plan or a structure or an
identity to bring forward?" >> there's a lot of mystery with the future of the european union. no-one can predict the future, they can plan for it, for everything. but i don't think the current situation in the european union is what was expected 10 years ago. for example, britain has looked after itself and has been a democracy for hundreds of years. >> harking back to the past, if the future is unpredictable? there are lots of ifs and buts at the moment. if the united kingdom leaves the eu, will scotland really leave the united kingdom? alan voted in favor of scottish independence two years ago. he still wants it today, and he also definitely wants scotland to remain part of the eu. should the uk end its membership in the european union? let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories
by getting in touch on facebook, email or twitter. stripped of all the trappings of modern life from electricity and running water to supermarkets, could you survive? a group of people in poland, called preppers, think they could. these survivalists hoard food, water and supplies, so as to be prepared for impending disaster. some say that the country's tumultuous history has left the fear of catastrophe deeply rooted in the polish psyche. now, as social anxiety grows over terrorism or war with russia, survival courses have become more popular than ever. katarzyna mikulska leads a little troupe away from civilization and into the wilderness. >> by the oak tree back there. that's a good spot! reporter a good spot to learn : how to survive 5 days in the woods. 100 people wanted to take the
course, but there were a limited number of places. first off they build a hut, almost entirly without tools. they learn what to do when disaster strikes and they have to flee. >> in our survival training, we show people how to get along without anything, without electricity, gas, our belongings, or food. the danger can strike at any moment. reporter: every prepper knows that birch bark burns very easily. there are survivalists all over the world, but the scene is particularly active in poland. that's partly because the country's history is full of catastrophes: it was partitioned three times, invaded by the germans at the start of world war ii, and later ruled by the soviets.
that's left its mark on the polish psyche. this is home to urban prepper konrad operacz. he always has a stockpile of food. if he uses something he replaces it right away, like his grandma did in the post-war era. he dries meat and stores 50 liters of water in his flat. he's not surprised poland has so many preppers. >> it's typical for poles. we've experienced so many terrible things and expect the worst to happen at any time. history can repeat itself. and today we have refugees from syria and eastern europe. anything can happen. reporter preppers are always : taking about terrorism and the many muslim migrants who could potentially flood into poland. though that seems quite irrational, as poland has hardly taken in any. operacz is an it specialist who maintains a company's computer systems, but preparing for disasters is his true calling. when disaster strikes, he knows that the first 72 hours are
crucial. he's worked out several evacuation routes and hidden two survival kits along each one. >> right on top there's a map with the route and strategically important points. there are certain staging areas that we all know. who knows, we might have to spend three nights here. we have ((02:47)) bandages and a bright red garbage bag so we can show where we are or leave traces behind. reporter adolf kudlinski is : completely self-sufficient. he's proud of his independence and his abode. it's huge and boasts lots of storage space underground. here we have sausages dating from 1995.
but i bet if we opened them up they'd still taste good. >> kudlinski became a prepper after the chernobyl nuclear disaster. he's been hoarding food ever since. >> i have more containers here. i'm a little crazier than polish preference. 50 people could survive on my farm for a year and a half. reporter: he leaves nothing to chance. some seem to be cure all. >> this one here helps with gastric disorders, lowers blood pressure and combats depression, too. reporter: back at the survival camp no one's had time to become depressed. they've been too busy, fashioning their own kitchen utensils. the last day of training has finally rived.
it gets pretty cold here at night and trainees only get to eat what they can scavenge in the forest. >> i learned that your hunger diminishes. eating once a day is actually enough. reporter many preppers are : secretive about their activities, but not these ones. they're proud and eager to show off their survival skills. other would-be preppers will have to wait -- these courses are booked up far in advance. mitchell: we are eager to hear your views. for now, it is goodbye for me and the whole team. see you next time. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]