Could 3D models prove Nazi guards KNEW about gas chambers? Prosecutors create virtual Auschwitz to reveal what was visible from watchtowers

The digital model can be used with online tours, pictured, of the the camp, as well as other information, including the years guards served, and any changes that were made to the layout of the camps

. A German prosecutor built a 3D virtual model of Auschwitz-Birkenau
. His model provides a 360° view of the concentration camp
. It can be set to show what guards would have seen from watchtowers
. This could be used to prove they knew about camp deaths, for example
. Cases have recently been opened into Nazi officers after a 2011 ruling meant prosecutors didn’t need evidence linking guards to individual deaths

By Victoria Woollaston

Decades after the last concentration camps of the Second World War closed their doors, many guards who were in charge of overseeing them are now being tried for suspected war crimes.

To secure convictions, prosecutors are using a mixture of testimonies and archived paperwork alongside modern techniques, including 3D modelling.

One model of the iconic Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland could even reveal exactly how much the guards were aware of during their time at the death camps, although images of this are yet to be released to the public.

The surge in cases follows a landmark ruling in 2011 that set a precedent for guards to be tried for murders that happened during their watch, even if they weren’t individually involved in the deaths.

John Demjanjuk, a former guard at the Sobibor camp in Poland, was convicted for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 people who died during 1943.

Up until then, cases required evidence linking suspects explicitly to specific killings.

Many guards have previously claimed the camps were so large they couldn’t possibly have known what was going on in individual rooms and sections.

While building a case into suspect Hans Lipschis, now 94, Stuttgart prosecutor Ralf Dietrich, used 3D modelling software to reconstruct Auschwitz and its outbuildings.


Officers from Queensland are using a handheld 3D scanner to perfectly record computer models of indoor and outdoor scenes of crime.

Called Zebedee, because of the way it moves like its namesake in The Magic Roundabout, the scanner has previously been used to produce models of famous landmarks and shipwrecks, yet this is the first time the technology has been used to fight crime.

Using Zebedee, also known as ZEB1, police can now easily access these hard to reach places and map confined spaces where it may be difficult to set up bulky camera equipment and tripods.

It also means less disturbance of the crime scene and scans can be uploaded in almost real-time…

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