Usually, day-to-day life on the remote Galapagos Islands is as uneventful as it gets. Time is measured in geologic eras and even the human interlopers find life there to be sleepy and laid-back. That all changed in 1934, when the world’s attention was drawn to the distant archipelago as a drama of murder, mystery and sex played out among the colorful inhabitants of Floreana Island.
In April 2014 the movie “The Galapagos Affair, Satan Came to Eden” hits the silver screen and brings a long-told true story that took place on the Galapagos to the world scene. (See the trailer here)
Being billed as “Darwin meets Hitchcock”, a star studded cast recreates the melodrama, climaxing in a violent still unsolved mystery.
Here are the real-life characters and the story of The Galapagos Affair:
Ritter and Strauch
In 1929, German doctor Friedrich Ritter felt the need to get out of Germany. Running off with one of his patients, Dore Strauch, he made his way to the Galapagos Islands, where he settled on Floreana Island. Floreana is an unforgiving, harsh place, but he and Strauch made a rugged home there out of volcanic rocks and twisted pieces of wood. The eccentric doctor praised a regime of hard work, a vegetarian diet and lack of creature comforts. Such a lifestyle, he said, would make a man strong. They became famous: the two lovers, alone on a remote island, carving a life out of the barren rock under the blistering island heat.
The Wittmer Family
As the fame of Ritter and Strauch spread, other settlers came to Floreana. Most of them could not hack it and left after a brief stay. A German family, Heinz and Margret Wittmer and their son, did stay.The Wittmers were not exactly friendly with Ritter and Strauch, but they tolerated and respected one another and helped each other in times of need.