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This Nazi was lying about his role at Auschwitz. Here's the technology that caught him.

Virtual reality can be super cool — and it's bringing bad guys to justice.

About 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

In what is one of the largest genocides in history, millions of people perished, went through extreme trauma, and lost entire families at the hands of Nazi soldiers.

Photo by Jerry Lampen/AFP/Getty Images.


And for decades after the Nuremberg Trials, most were never prosecuted.

The Holocaust ended in 1945, coinciding with the end of World War II. Many Nazi soldiers returned unpunished to society, and in many cases, have since passed away. In an effort to bring about justice for Holocaust victims, lawyers have been searching for lower-ranking officials that would have been in their late-teens and early-20s during the Holocaust. However, because most concentration camps were destroyed at the end of the war, it's been especially challenging for courts to prove any guilt.

In "Nazi VR," human rights lawyers describe these challenges. “So many got away, living in peace in their houses in post-war Germany, that we can’t really be satisfied,” said Jens Rommel, a German lawyer and prosecutor who heads the Central Office of the National Judicial Authorities for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes. As war crimes experts race against time to track down soldiers who were involved, lawyers like Rommel have struggled to determine ways to create opportunities for justice.

Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images.

But thanks to virtual reality technology, justice is finally being served.

When lawyers charged Reinhold Hanning with participating in war crimes, the former SS guard claimed to have not been aware of what was happening inside the concentration camps. At 18 years old, Hanning started working as an SS guard at Auschwitz, one of the most notorious concentration camps that was the site of 1.1 million murders. After the war ended, he returned to everyday society, and by all accounts, lived a normal life.

Because Auschwitz had mostly been deconstructed, evidence was destroyed or non-existent, and it was nearly impossible to prove that Hanning was complicit in the heinous war crimes committed at the camp.

Photo by Bernd Thissen/AFP/Getty Images.

But then, German Public Prosecution Service ordered the creation of a VR version of Auschwitz. Ralf Breker, a forensic engineer with the Bavarian state crime office, led the VR work that made a case against Hanning possible.

Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images.

VR technology allows judges to step into the shoes of the accused and view what they likely saw during the time period in question.

Pretty neat, right? Here’s how the technology works.

Breker and other leading engineers captured the camp’s physical geometry with a painstakingly accurate laser scanner — the same device investigators often use to capture scans of modern-day crime scenes. The laser scans provide the foundation for a more complete version of the camp, which digitally reconstructs the crumbling buildings into their former wartime state.

Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images.

With a 3D representation of the Auschwitz camp, judges had evidence that falsified Hanning’s claims of being unaware of what was happening. Using an HTC Vive, the court was able to virtually step into Hanning’s shoes to examine what he likely saw back then, including views of the ramp where prisoners entered, and the rail yard where they were subjected to the choice of slave labor or death.

"The great significance of this trial of Reinhold Hanning, using a virtual reality model in the courtroom, is that virtual reality proves that he was an accomplice of murder," said former U.S. War Crimes Ambassador David Scheffer.

Thanks to VR technology, Hanning was convicted in a Detmold court in 2016 as an accessory to 170,000 murders.

While Hanning continued to deny the charges, he apologized for his complicity, saying, "I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it, and I apologize for my actions."

Unfortunately, Hanning never faced justice for his crimes. He died before he was able to serve his five-year prison sentence. Thus confirming that the commonly described "hunt" for Nazi guards and officials is an infuriating race-against-time conundrum. Hanning died at the age of 95, which means he's likely one of the last living Nazi officials who could actually be brought to trial.

While nothing will replace the millions of people lost in the Holocaust, nor make up for the trauma survivors experienced, this technological advancement is a sign that the road to justice is long, and often extremely difficult, but worth it. Rommel believes that even if it's only able to bring a few to justice for now, it's imperative to do the work to set the stage for other similar justice endeavors.

“It’s our responsibility to try what’s possible today, and that’s why my colleagues and I do our job, even if we only find a few that are still living and may be convicted.”

If justice is what's to come, we're thrilled to see how VR can get us there.

Check out "Nazi VR" below.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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