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‘The Devil Next Door’: Netflix to Amend Docuseries After Polish Prime Minister Accuses It of ‘Rewriting History’

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote a letter complaining to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

"The Devil Next Door"

“The Devil Next Door”


Update (November 14): As reported by Variety, Netflix will amend its docuseries “The Devil Next Door” following Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s public complaint letter about the inaccuracy of the series. The letter specifically called Netflix and the docuseries — about the 1986 trial of John Demjanjuk — out for its use of incorrect maps which placed World War II concentration camps within the borders of modern-day Poland.

As Morawiecki wrote in his letter on Monday, “Not only is the map incorrect, but it deceives viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps, and for committing the crimes therein.”

Netflix will add onscreen text to the series — presumably below the maps — acknowledging that the camps were in territory occupied by Nazis. The change is likely to take effect in the next few days.

“We are hugely proud of ‘The Devil Next Door’ and stand by its filmmakers, their research and their work,” Netflix said in its statement to Variety. “In order to provide more information to our members about the important issues raised in this documentary and to avoid any misunderstanding, in the coming days we will be adding text to some of the maps featured in the series.”

“This will make it clearer that the extermination and concentration camps in Poland were built and operated by the German Nazi regime, [which] invaded the country and occupied it from 1939-1945.”

November 11: Netflix is currently in hot water with the government of Poland over its docuseries “The Devil Next Door.” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently wrote a letter of complaint to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over the series’ alleged use of false maps which place World War II concentration camps within modern-day Poland’s borders.

“The Devil Next Door” premiered on Netflix in early November. The series centers on the 1986 Israeli trial of John Demjanjuk, a Cleveland resident accused of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.” Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to death in 1988, only for the verdict to be overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993 and Demjanjuk to return back to Cleveland.

In the Polish Prime Minister’s letter to Netflix, posted in Polish and English on his Facebook page on Nov. 10, he wrote, “There is no comment or any explanation whatsoever that these sites (on the map) were German-operated.”

The map issue specifically comes from “The Devil Next Door’s” replication of a map used during the trial, as it places the death camps that Demjanjuk allegedly worked at on Polish territory, despite the detail that they were on Nazi-occupied territory in occupied Poland. Additionally, as the focus is on Demjanjuk and the trial, he docuseries doesn’t go into detail about Poland’s role in World War II or its invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during this time.

“As my country did not even exist at that time as an independent state, and millions of Poles were murdered at these sites, this element of ‘The Devil Next Door’ is nothing short of rewriting history,” Morawiecki wrote in his letter.

“I believe this terrible mistake has been committed unintentionally — and I am hoping you will be able to correct it as soon as possible, by modifying said map or otherwise informing the audience of the error,” he continued, attaching a map of Europe in 1942 that shows “Germany’s territorial control at its greatest extent.”

Regarding the letter and issue, a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters: “We are aware of the concerns regarding ‘The Devil Next Door’ and are urgently looking into the matter.”

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