It might have been hailed the true-crime docuseries of the year, but Poland’s prime minister isn’t happy with the documentary The Devil Next Door about Nazi death camps.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has now written a letter to Netflix, saying a map shown in the series locates the death camps in modern-day Poland’s borders, according to reports.
Morawiecki claims this misrepresents Poland as being responsible for the death camps, when in reality these areas were occupied by Germany in World War II.
You can watch the trailer for The Devil Next Door here:
The second world war was sparked when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, before building concentration camps, such as Auschwitz and Treblinka, where they killed millions of people.
Netflix has since told Reuters it is aware of concerns around the docu-series, which tells the true story of ‘family man’ John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-American mechanic who was enjoying his retirement in the suburbs of Cleveland in the 1980s, before a group of people accused him of being ‘Ivan the Terrible’, a notoriously cruel Nazi death camp guard who tortured and killed nearly one million Jewish prisoners during World War II.
In his letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Morawiecki said it was important to ‘honour the memory and preserve the truth about World War II and the Holocaust’.
He went on to accuse ‘certain works’ on Netflix being ‘hugely inaccurate’ and ‘rewriting history’.
.@netflix "Devil next door" tells an important story. However not only it shows a map of Central Europe with post-war (not war-time occupation) borders but also the locations of Chelmno and Majdanek camps are simply wrong. One could expect more accuracy in such a production. pic.twitter.com/iiJ9Mkmwud
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 10, 2019
Sharing a map of Europe in late 1492, as well as an account by Witold Pilecki, who was voluntarily imprisoned in Auschwitz and wrote about his experiences after successfully escaping, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote:
Netflix, stay true to historical facts.
During the time which the ‘The Devil Next Door’ series describes, Poland’s territory was occupied, and it was Nazi Germany who was responsible for the camps.
The map shown in the series does not reflect the actual borders at that time.
.@Netflix, stay true to historical facts!
During the time which the “The Devil Next Door” series describes, Poland’s territory was occupied, and it was Nazi Germany who was responsible for the camps. The map shown in the series does not reflect the actual borders at that time. pic.twitter.com/W5i8C9THo3
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇵🇱 (@PolandMFA) November 10, 2019
Morawiecki said he believed the ‘terribly mistake’ had been ‘committed unintentionally’.
The Devil Next Door shows how Demjanjuk’s peaceful life was quickly turned upside down when a group of Holocaust survivors accused him of being ‘Ivan the Terrible’.
As a result of the accusation, the 66-year-old was extradited to Israel to stand trial for crimes against humanity.
The five-part series attempts to explain the allegations Demjanjuk faced through interviews with family members, prosecutors and defence lawyers.
The Devil Next Door is on Netflix now.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.