+
upworthy
More

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.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.


The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.

The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.

The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.

The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.

The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.

They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.

“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”

They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.

The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.

american kennel club, french bulldog, most popular dog

An adorable French Bulldog

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.

Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.

Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.

1 French Bulldogs

2 Labrador Retrievers

3 Golden Retrievers

4 German Shepherd Dogs

5 Poodles

6 Bulldogs

7 Rottweilers

8 Beagles

9 Dachshunds

10 German Shorthaired Pointers


This article originally appeared on 03.17.23

Family

Dad shares family's confusion when his young son demanded 'people chicken' for dinner

It took them awhile to figure it out, but once you see it, you can't unsee it.

"People chicken" sounds…disturbing

One of the best parts of having kids is having a full-time, front row seat to the way they interpret and use language as they grow. There's the classic mispronunciations of "spaghetti," of course, but there are also one-of-a-kind terms they coin based on their limited vocabulary and the unique way they look at the world.

Kids say the darnedest things, and as Dillon White shared on Instagram, one of those darned things could be a young child requesting "people chicken" for dinner. Not just requesting, but demanding: "I WANT PEOPLE CHICKEN!!"

People chicken. There are only so many ways to interpret that, all of which could land you on the FBI's radar.

Of course, it was a small child saying this, so there had to be an explanation.

White explained that he and his wife tried everything to get their kiddo to clarify what he meant by "people chicken," including having him draw a picture of what he was wanting. Unfortunately, the stick figure person he drew did not help relieve any concerns that their child might be a cannibal.

Finally, White's 7-year-old daughter came up with a solution that revealed what her younger brother wanted. It was not, in fact, chicken made out of people. Phew.

Watch:

It's true. Once you see Colonel Sanders' bow tie as a stick figure, you can't unsee it.

Even KFC's official account responded to the video, writing, "You see it once, and you can't unsee it." HA.

White was not alone in his kid seeing the stick figure Col. Sanders.

"The SAME thing (conversation) happened to us 22 years ago!! My toddler was practically throwing himself trying to make us understand that he wanted 'Old Man Chicken'!!!!!! And yup, it was KFC he was asking for. We have referred to it as ‘Old Man Chicken’ all these years now 😂!!" shared on commenter.

"About halfway through we figured out what he was talking about but that’s only because my kids have been saying for years that the KFC man is a stick figure with a really big head. Tell Mason he’s not the only kid who thought that.Lol 😂😂😂" shared another.

"I think I’ve been working with children too long because the instant you said people chicken my brain said 'that’s kfc,' 😂 wrote another.

Other people chimed in to share their kids' hilarious naming conventions for chicken places:

"My son was in tears for 'Pinky Toe.' Turns out he thought the Chick-fil-A emblem was a foot 😂," wrote one parent.

"Lol. My daughter refers to Chick-fil-A as 'foot' because their logo actually reserved a footprint. So interesting thinking of the different ways that children see things that we adults don't. It's amazing!" shared another.

"My kids call Buffalo Wild Wings 'stinky skunks' because from a distance, the logo looks like a skunk to them. We went through a similar very confusing moment to figure that one out as you can imagine, 🤦♀️🤣" shared another.

White is right. We should let kids name everything. They're so much better at it than adults are.

You can follow Dillon White on Instagram here and TikTok here.


This article originally appeared on 2.7.24

Island School Class, circa 1970s.

Parents, do you think your child would be able to survive if they were transported back to the '70s or '80s? Could they live at a time before the digital revolution put a huge chunk of our lives online?

These days, everyone has a phone in their pocket, but before then, if you were in public and needed to call someone, you used a pay phone. Can you remember the last time you stuck 50 cents into one and grabbed the grubby handset?

According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, roughly 100,000 pay phones remain in the U.S., down from 2 million in 1999.

Do you think a 10-year-old kid would have any idea how to use a payphone in 2022? Would they be able to use a Thomas Guide map to find out how to get somewhere? If they stepped into a time warp and wound up in 1975, could they throw a Led Zeppelin album on the record player at a party?


Another big difference between now and life in the '70s and '80s has been public attitudes toward smoking cigarettes. In 1965, 42.4% of Americans smoked and now, it’s just 12.5%. This sea change in public opinion about smoking means there are fewer places where smoking is deemed acceptable.

But in the early '80s, you could smoke on a bus, on a plane, in a movie theater, in restaurants, in the classroom and even in hospitals. How would a child of today react if their third grade teacher lit up a heater in the middle of math class?

Dan Wuori, senior director of early learning at the Hunt Institute, tweeted that his high school had a smoking area “for the kids.” He then asked his followers to share “something you experienced as a kid that would blow your children’s minds.”


A lot of folks responded with stories of how ubiquitous smoking was when they were in school. While others explained that life was perilous for a kid, whether it was the school playground equipment or questionable car seats.

Here are a few responses that’ll show today’s kids just how crazy life used to be in the '70s and '80s.

First of all, let’s talk about smoking.

Want to call someone? Need to get picked up from baseball practice? You can’t text mom or dad, you’ll have to grab a quarter and use a pay phone.

People had little regard for their kids’ safety or health.

You could buy a soda in school.

Things were a lot different before the internet.

Remember pen pals?

A lot of people bemoan the fact that the children of today aren’t as tough as they were a few decades back. But that’s probably because the parents of today are better attuned to their kids’ needs so they don't have to cheat death to make it through the day.

But just imagine how easy parenting would be if all you had to do was throw your kids a bag of Doritos and a Coke for lunch and you never worried about strapping them into a car seat?


This article originally appeared on 06.08.22

Representative image from Canva

This Mother's Day, give mom what she really wants—a break.

Mother’s Day is upon us again. And for many, that means trying to pick the perfect gift that makes mom feel special. But what exactly is that gift? For many well-intentioned partners, the answer to this question feels elusive.

However, according to mom Madison Barbosa, all moms only really want one thing. And it’s not something you’ll find in a gift guide.

In a video posted to her TikTok, Barbosa jokingly points a figure at the camera while saying, Mother’s Day is coming. I’m looking at you. Yeah I’m looking at you…what are you gonna do for her? I’m gonna tell you what to do.”


According to Barbosa, moms aren't looking for a break away from their family. What she wants is a day where she can “turn her brain off. Where she doesn't have to have the mental load for one day. Take off the mental load for one day.”

What exactly does this look like? Barbosa breaks it down, step by step.

“Here's what you're gonna do. She's gonna wake up. You're not gonna say, ‘What do you want to do today? We can do anything you want.’ Nope, nope, no. You're gonna plan something. Whether that's going to the zoo, going to the park, going for a walk, you're gonna plan something that she does not have to think twice about. Not gonna ask her what she wants to eat. You're gonna plan that shit too. Don't ask her any questions.”

And in case there’s any confusion, packaging is most definitely part of this planning process. Including the diaper bag.

“When she goes to pack up the diaper bag, she gets ready, she gets packed the diaper bag. It's already packed. Do you understand? It's already packed. Exactly as she would do it. Exactly. You better, you better pack that diaper bag the night before. You wake up an hour before her, and you pack that diaper bag. Make sure all the shit's in there. All you need to do is let her shut her brain off,” she said.

Lastly, Barbosa says that in addition to the glorious day of brainlessness, moms do enjoy physical gifts like flowers and thoughtful cards, contrast to what some might say. Just make sure the message on the cards is “thoughtful.” And, as one viewer pointed out, make sure the flowers are arranged in a vase. Again, mental load.

Watch below. Warning: there are a few f-bombs thrown in for dramatic flair.

@madison_barbosa yall need me to send this to your husbands? no joke ill do it 🤟🏻 #mothersday #relatablemomcontent #momhumor #momminmads #unfilteredmom ♬ original sound - Madison Barbosa

Barbosa’s video, which quickly racked up over 115,000 views, left many moms nodding in agreement.

“I just want a cinnamon roll and not to be asked questions,” one chimed.

Another added, Sending this to my husband NOW!!! Bc this is EXACTLY what I want!”

Still, there wasn’t unanimous agreement on the “being with family” portion of Barbosa’s suggestions.

“Speak for yourself,” one mom wrote. “I would love a day by myself.”

This could have to do with what chapter of motherhood each woman is in. Upworthy previously learned that moms of younger children are the ones who typically want a solo day, while moms of adult children tend to crave the bonding time. And teen/tween moms just want to be appreciated.

Honestly, now matter what stage these mothers are in, is any of that too much to ask? We think not.

Representative Image from Canva

There's no way they didn't understand what she was saying.

Okay, so maybe dogs don’t understand everything we tell them exactly as a human would. But is that gonna stop us from having full blown conversations with them? Of course not. And the times they do seem to comprehend what’s being communicated—pure comedy.

Take this dog mom’s hilarious pre-grooming pep talk with Shih-Tzus Branston, Pickle and Gizmo. She minced no words telling them exactly how this trip was gonna go. And the message seemed to be received.

Branston (the troublemaker, apparently) got a firm warning of what not to do, including telling white lies about his upbringing.

“I don’t need you running in telling the first dog you see that this is what this is what your hair used to look like when you lived in the Bronx running up and down the block, cause I know for a fact, Branston, that you live in a rural village,” she tells him.

Viewers, however, seemed on board with Branston’s Bronx-affiliation, even if it was a little white lie. One person joked, “don’t be mad at the treats that I got, I’m still Branny from the block.”

In the video, Branston is also instructed to not tell everyone that he “identifies as a BUll Mastiff,” which gets the most adorable look of disappointment for wee little Branston.

As for Gizmo and Pickle—mom’s best advice is to pretend like they don’t know Branston.

Perhaps the best part is mom’s British accent, which makes the entire clip feel like something pulled straight outta “Ted Lasso.” That, or the complete shock the Shih-tzu trio has at being informed of their weight class.

Watch:

@branstonandpickle01 Your NOT from the Bronx and you never ran up and down the block!! #dogsoftiktok #peptalktoyourdog #branstonwehavearrived #shihtzusoftiktok #peptalkbranston #funnydogvideos #funnyvideos #nyc #bronx #funny #dogs #dogtok ♬ original sound - Branston,Pickle&Gizmo

Perhaps Branston, Pickle, and Gizmo’s mom isn’t totally off-base by giving them a talking to. According to the website allshihtzu.com, this breed had a “unique intelligence,” which gets best demonstrated by their attuned, empathic connection to their human families. Meaning that while they might not have the same kind of smarts as border collies or other herding dogs, their super power is picking up social cues.

And, again, even if they had no earthly idea what their mom was saying, odds are she’d still be talking to them anyway. Why? Because pets are our babies. And baby talk is fun.jk