The Project is under construction, and its implementation depends largely on the support we can get.

When words are not enough. Virtual reconstruction, real emotions.

“AuschwitzVR” is a computer app that will take us to the times of the concentration camp system’s existence and will allow you to see one of the most significant places in modern history- meticulously reconstructed in 3D on the basis of photos, technical documentation and archival materials.

Thanks to VR and the 360° stereoscopic view, we will have the opportunity to look at every inch of the camp. We will be able to move freely around the whole area of the camp, including crouching and leaning out. What is more, the controllers which we will hold in our hands will allow us to pick up objects in order to look at them up close. The usage of this particular technology will give us the impression of a real life experience.

This unique and immersive adventure will additionally offer us several scenarios- virtual stories regarding the horrifying future of the victims of the camp.

Technology reveals history

VR enables:

  • giving a universal history lesson that is understandable all over the world;
  • creating a thoroughly designed and reliable reconstruction of the camp;
  • free exploration of camp area, discovering minor details and objects as well as looking at the camp from new perspectives;
  • meeting the needs of pupils and students brought up among new technologies;
  • designing an immersive experience along with familiarizing the users about the tragic history using scenarios.

The past- here and now

  • This is a real opportunity to freely discover the Auschwitz Concentration Camp with its components that no longer exist nowadays- the only virtual reconstruction of the camp from 1940-45.
  • It is a coherent combination of fragmentary media: photographs, written texts and stories.
  • It is a modern addition to the already available sources.
  • This unique experience will be engraved in our memory for long – a virtual story reaching for more than just words and photos.

Who will be interested in this app?

  • Schools and universities
  • Associations of relatives of both victims and survivors of the camp
  • National cultural and historical institutions
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Museums

How is virtual reconstruction created?

1. Environment

  • A meticulous analysis of the camp plan and of all available resources including: terrain, layout of buildings and the arrangement of pillars and drainage ditches.
  • Preparation of blocked geometry- transferring the camp map into the 3D environment using Unreal Engine 4 (along with preliminary preparations for connecting to VR technology).
  • Creating detailed 3D models and realistic textures and successively replacing them with blocked geometry.
  • Working on realistic lighting and shading.
  • Adding details such as stones, branches, piles of clothes, suitcases, garbage, as well as particle effects including dust, mud and puddles.

2. Props

  • Gathering references and analyzing objects and equipment which are filling the camp space: suitcases, clothes, personal belongings, trucks, wagons and locomotives.
  • Creating detailed models and textures based on photos, descriptions and archival documents.
  • Importing finished models to the engine and setting the shaders.
  • Programming scripts for items with which the user may interact- pick up, view closely, put back.

3. Characters

  • Gathering and analyzing references: photos, documents describing the clothing and markings of prisoners and the uniforms of torturers.
  • Creating models and textures for four categories of characters: camp prisoners, torturers, people from the camp transport (for scripts) and animals (including dogs and birds).
  • Rigging- assigning controllers and motion templates to models.
  • Preparation of the animation sequence using the Unreal Engine 4 (for example uniforms patrolling the camp, working prisoners).
  • Arrangement of the characters and programming interaction scripts (for example characters following the user).

4. Sounds

  • Collection of reference materials for a maximum reproduction of the camp’s sound background.
  • Sound preparation: air noise, background sounds, noises and dialogue lines.
  • Creating a sound map- audio sequences arranged in different parts of the map, the volume of which changes with the user’s location.
  • Overlaying dialogue lines and preparing sounds for specific scenarios.

5. App structure

  • start screen: allows the user to select either free exploration mode or scenario mode*. The central hub of the app will also contain additional materials such as archival photos, documents, interviews with former prisoners of the camp.
  • exploration mode: free discovery of the three-dimensional reconstruction of the Auschwitz concentration camp, including the possibility of movement and picking-up objects,
  • *scenarios: scripted sequences of events that are reminiscent of a virtual movie in which the user becomes a participant. The app will lead the user through a virtual story, limiting the possibilities of movement and interaction in order to focus his/her attention on the chosen story. Scenarios are the elements of continuous app development.

Exemplary scenarios: Road to the gas chambers (from the death wagons to the clouds of gas), Appeal (daily nightmare of the camp prisoners), Camp number (the story of prisoners stripped of their identity and deprived of human dignity).

6.Virtual reality, real emotions

What makes the project so outstanding?

  • It is an authentic lesson on humanity, a truly emotional experience. The way of telling about historical events is evocative.
  • The app is a combination of passion and great respect for the topic.
  • It is a full immersion due to details and effects.
  • The project is composed of experienced team members using modern tools. The author Sebastian Ośka has already finished projects such as: a short film The City of Ruins  for The Warsaw Rising Museum, reconstructions of the Battle of Grunwald for National Museum in Warsaw,animation History of Poland presented at EXPO 2010, the film The Unconquered for the Institute of National Remembrance, a virtual walk through the 19th century city of Dzierżoniów and the campaign Hunger is a Monster for the United Nations.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Historical VR Reconstruction