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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.

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

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.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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