Lost in the countryside of Paraguay, on red earth and surrounded by vegetation lies a Lutheran cemetery. On the tombstones are such names as Schütt, Flaskamp, ​​Hener, Schubert, Howdenschild, Fischer. Carlos Benítez, 72, stops in front of a black marble stele engraved with the name of Alberto Cuca. Nickname in brackets below: “Chrysalis”. “He was my friend” Carlos remembers. The chrysalis was born to a Paraguayan father and a German mother. Like many other inhabitants of New Germany, he had a history of failure in his blood: an experiment aimed at proving the superiority of the Aryan race, undertaken in 1887 in this lost corner of South America by Elisabeth Nietzsche, sister of the German philosopher and her husband Bernhard Förster.

Carlos Benitez, owner of a veterinary clinic, lives in New Germany. [ex-Neu-Germanien] for over thirty years. He came to work there and got married here. Looking back from abroad, he reconstructed the history of this village of 6,000 people. Elisabeth Nietzsche and Bernhard Forster “arrived by boat with a group of Germans who had an eye on the land, but also intended to preserve the Aryan culture and ideology”.

It was an illustrious friend, the composer Richard Wagner, conquered by the anti-Semitism of the time, who proposed to them the idea of ​​building a new Germany, far from Europe, close to nature, vegan and apparently without Jews.

“They didn’t know anything about it”

Paraguay seemed to Bernhard Förster an ideal place. A dozen German families, seduced by this new life, went to Hamburg on the banks of the Aguaray mi, almost 300 kilometers from Asuncion. The Aryan utopia did not long resist reality on earth: a hot and humid climate, malaria, parasites and snakes tormented the townspeople and their young children. Carlos Benitez says:

“Everything was painful. They thought they could make a quick buck growing mate and wood, but they didn’t know anything about it. Some managed to adapt: ​​they did not stay of their own free will, but because they could not leave. Their descendants live here