International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

A New Technology Helps Germany identify the last of the Nazi War Criminals

A new technology developed by german police and prosecutors is helping to identify and prosecute the last living Nazi war criminals. A 3D model of a  concentration camp is viewed by those in question through virtual reality goggles. “Legally, the question is about intent: must a suspect have known that people were being taken to the gas chambers or shot? This model is a very good and very modern tool for the investigation because it can help answer that question,” says Jens Rommel, who is head of the federal office that is investigating Nazi war crimes. Rommel and his team are investigating “a few dozen” suspects, and believes that many are alive and could go to court if their case is strong enough. Over the past two years, Rommel has used the 3D goggles to put together cases against Johann Breyer, who is accused for the killing of 216,000 Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz, and against Reinhold Hanning, who was convicted in June for 170,000 murders in Auschwitz. This technology is another effort by the German justice system to recognize the atrocities of the Holocaust.

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Ralf Baker of the Bavarian Police with the virtual reality glasses and a picture of the 3D model.

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