The Nazi Hunting Groups from Israel would have loved augmented reality technology to hunt down Nazi war criminals had this technology been around in the 1950’s and 60’s. More than 70 years have passed since the Holocaust and the last prisoners at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp were liberated, but still, not all Nazi war criminals or their collaborators have been brought to justice. However, thanks to advances in augmented reality technology, German experts have now found a way to prosecute even very old war criminals.
Photos of today’s concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau can now be superimposed by 3D models of augmented reality that can be walked through. This was created by LKA digital imaging expert Ralf Breker. This AR model is considered the most exacting representation of any camp to date. It is even much more precise than Google Earth. However, unlike another augmented reality tech, viewing can be done either on a widescreen or use any commercial VR goggles.
Thanks to this technology, German investigators, prosecutors, and other experts can now digitally walk through Auschwitz-Birkenau’s special gassing extermination camp where more than 1.1 million Jews alone were murdered through the course of World War II. When walking through the augmented reality representation, anyone can view if the war criminal being prosecuted is telling the truth or not.
When exploring the augmented reality model of Auschwitz, officials can walk through the camp as if they themselves are members of the German SS (Schutzstaffel or “Protection Echelon”), and thus, be able to see the landscape through the eyes of a criminal. The AR model can be used in trials to counter the objections of suspects who claim that they did not witness executions or marches to gas chambers from their vantage point. Many suspects in Holocaust war crimes have in the past used the defense of not really knowing
what was going on in the death camps. This new technology provides a new way to examine otherwise and is a modern tool for the investigation because it can answer the question of where the suspect was while the killings in Auschwitz were going on.
Just last year, this technology helped to convict former SS guard, Reinhold Hanning, to five years imprisonment for being complicit in the mass murder in Auschwitz. According to Reinhold, he was assigned mostly to machine shops and a fence area watchtower, and views to other parts of the camp were blocked by trees. It turns out that the machine shop windows only had a single tree that was to the side and faced an area where regular executions were taking place. Also, the view from the alleged watchtower that Reinhold was assigned to had a clear overview of the execution area and assembly area where prisoners were gathered to be marched off for extermination.