Bavarian police have created a virtual reality model of Auschwitz, which they say can help convict Nazis who worked in the camps. Matthew Stock reports.
It brings to life one of the darkest periods in human history. This 3D virtual reality model of the wartime Nazi death camp Auschwitz was developed by Bavarian police. The aim is to help investigators bring to justice those complicit in killing more than a million people between 1940 and 45. Investigators wear 3D glasses to explore the camp as it stood during World War Two. SOUNDBITE (German) ENGINEER FOR BAVARIAN STATE CRIMINAL POLICE OFFICE, RALF BREKER, SAYING: "We worked on the model for six months, using survey measurements. So we used digital models of the compound provided by the land surveying office in Warsaw, along with orthographic images. In May 2013 we carried out a survey with laser scanners, and the buildings that are no longer there were reconstructed on the basis of plans from the Auschwitz archive." While many senior Nazi officers were convicted, junior SS officers and guards often escaped sentence. Many claim to have been unaware of the full horror unfolding around them. The VR experience could determine what, in fact, these individuals would have witnessed from their posts. (SOUNDBITE) (German) ENGINEER FOR BAVARIAN STATE CRIMINAL POLICE OFFICE, RALF BREKER, SAYING: "The intention behind it is to get a better overview of the camp and to show various perspectives and lines of sight, for example from the watchtowers. Or for example if a company marched through here, what could you see from there? Could you see the crematoria?" The Auschwitz camp, in southern Poland, witnessed the systematic murder of some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews. In the last few years, Germany has convicted several people of being accessories to murder. But virtual reality is bringing a new perspective to investigations... helping determine just how complicit former camp staff were in the atrocities.