The Devil Next Door

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The Devil Next Door
Season 1
Country of originUnited States, international
No. of episodes5
Original networkNetflix

The Devil Next Door is a documentary series about John Demjanjuk, a Nazi extermination camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible", who spent years living in Cleveland. The show premiered on Netflix in 2019.[1][2]


The documentary shows the legal battles of Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker in Cleveland accused of being a German-Nazi prison camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible." Arrested, denaturalized as an American citizen and extradited to Israel in 1981, Demjanjuk was tried as a war criminal in a highly-publicized trial. Several survivors questioned at trial identified Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible. He was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned by reasonable doubt, based in part on documents released after the Cold War that identified a different guard as Ivan the Terrible.[3]

Although there was not enough evidence to identify Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible, he was identified as a Nazi guard at the Sobibor extermination camp and several other camps. He was deported from the United States to Germany in 2009 and was charged with over 27,900 counts of accessory to murder. He was again found guilty in May 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison. Demjanjuk died in prison while his case was on appeal and so the German legal system will no longer seek a determination on his guilt or innocence.[4]

The documentary interviews several figures from the trial, including Demjanjuk's attorney and family members and Israeli and American prosecutors, journalists, and academics. It contains extensive footage from his first trial, including testimony from Holocaust survivors and historical footage from concentration camps.

Polish map clarification[edit]

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized the documentary for including a modern-day map of Poland, with the location of Nazi death camps marked on it. Morawiecki considered that impied that Poland was responsible for the death camps, instead of Nazi Germany. The map was shown as part of a segment from a 1985 television report that first detailed the allegations against Demjanjuk.[5] The map was shown "repeatedly in various versions of the series", with no explanation that the camps were run by Germans.[4]

Morawiecki sent a letter to Netflix about the map, which was from a British press report in 1985. In response, in November 2019, Netflix agreed to "provide more information" onscreen to clearly show the camps were operated by the Germans. Netflix was thanked by Morawiecki.[6][7] Vanity Fair on November 15, 2019 noted that it was "unclear" when the tweaks would be made by Netflix.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'The Devil Next Door': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  2. ^ "Netflix's 'The Devil Next Door' Tackles the Biggest True Crime of All: The Holocaust". Haaretz. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Netflix says it will amend 'The Devil Next Door' series, following Polish prime minister's complaint", The Washington Post, retrieved November 18, 2019
  5. ^ "Poland reacts angrily to Netflix Nazi death camp documentary". BBC News. 2019-11-12. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  6. ^ Lawler, Richard (November 16, 2019), Netflix tweaks 'Devil Next Door' documentary after Polish PM complains, Engadget, retrieved November 18, 2019
  7. ^ Shaw, Lucas (November 14, 2019), Netflix Plans to Amend Holocaust Film After Poland Complains, Bloomberg, retrieved November 18, 2019
  8. ^ Desta, Yohana (November 15, 2019), Netflix Edits True-Crime Docuseries After Riling Up Controversy in Poland, Vanity Fair, retrieved November 18, 2019

External links[edit]