MEL Films Releases Documentary Nazi VR, Chronicling The Story Of VR’s First Use In A Criminal Case

We’ve often discussed, or at least brought you news on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) items that have revolved around the telling of history. Be they re-enactment by simulation, VR documentary, or even the bringing of history ‘back to life’. You may recall a recent story where a French museum teamed up with a studio to do just that with the Microsoft Hololens. Using it to turn back the clock on antiques, artefacts and exhibits and show them in their glory.

Immersive technology has been used for historical purposes in a number of ways, with one way it has also been used being in search of justice; with a new short documentary, launched this week from MEL Films, looking at just that. MEL Films are the film making team of a new Los Angeles based online magazine, with veterans of publications such as The New York Times, VICE, Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed, GQ, and Rolling Stone.

In what may be the last World War II trial, Reinhold Hanning was tried for crimes undertaken at the concentration camp of Auschwitz. But how to prove culpability? This is where VR came in – as the film’s director David Freid explains.

“What may be the last WWII Nazi trial, was also the first to use VR in the courtroom. As part of the prosecution against former SS guard, Reinhold Hanning, Germany deployed VR technology to re-create Auschwitz, and prove that Hanning would have seen the atrocities taking place all around him.” Says Freid. “Like many Nazis who never faced justice, the now elderly Hanning claimed he was not aware of what was happening inside the concentration camp. And like many, he had been living a normal life in Germany since the war — until a major war crimes policy review opened the door to try Hanning as an accessory to at least 170,000 deaths.”

Nazi VR charts the story of what happened, how VR came to be involved and what has resulted from it. You can see the film, which clocks in at over 16 minutes, below.  For more about how VR is being used, be sure to be follow VRFocus.