How a Virtual Reality Model of Auschwitz Helped Convict an SS Concentration Camp Guard: A Short Documentary on a High Tech Prosecution

In 2016, Rein­hold Han­ning, a for­mer SS guard at the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp, was tried and con­vict­ed for being an acces­so­ry to at least 170,000 deaths. In mak­ing their case, pros­e­cu­tors did some­thing novel–they relied on a vir­tu­al real­i­ty ver­sion of the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp, which helped under­mine Han­ning’s claim that he was­n’t aware of what hap­pened inside the camp. The vir­tu­al real­i­ty head­set let view­ers see the camp from almost any angle, and estab­lished that “Han­ning would have seen the atroc­i­ties tak­ing place all around him.”

The high-tech pros­e­cu­tion of Han­ning gets well doc­u­ment­ed in “Nazi VR,” the short doc­u­men­tary above. It comes from MEL Films, and will be added to our col­lec­tion of online doc­u­men­taries.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Auschwitz Cap­tured in Haunt­ing Drone Footage (and a New Short Film by Steven Spiel­berg & Meryl Streep)

Carl Jung Psy­cho­an­a­lyzes Hitler: “He’s the Uncon­scious of 78 Mil­lion Ger­mans.” “With­out the Ger­man Peo­ple He’d Be Noth­ing” (1938)

From Cali­gari to Hitler: A Look at How Cin­e­ma Laid the Foun­da­tion for Tyran­ny in Weimar Ger­many

Watch World War II Rage Across Europe in a 7 Minute Time-Lapse Film: Every Day From 1939 to 1945

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  • Jim says:

    Fas­ci­nat­ing to use such tech­nol­o­gy in this man­ner. I wish the film would have shown us more “footage” of the VR Auschwitz Mod­el. What takes away from any attempt at impar­tial­i­ty in this film are the gra­tu­itous swipes at Don­ald Trump — both from der Spiegel cov­er accus­ing Trump as being KKK and in his quote at the very end, try­ing to make it sound like he was defend­ing such behav­ior. There were thou­sands of oth­ers more rel­e­vant who could have been quot­ed, but instead, the mak­ers made sure to include a slam against the cur­rent Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent. It is that fact, and that fact alone, which deter­mined my deci­sion not to rec­om­mend, nor for­ward this film to oth­ers. What a shame to have taint­ed a seri­ous doc­u­men­tary with the mak­ers’ polit­i­cal bias!

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