Last week, Netflix debuted The Devil Next Door, a new documentary series about John Demjanjuk. The series delves into the “trial of the century” that erupted during the 1970s and early 1980s when Holocaust survivors identified Demjanjuk, a retired Ukrainian-American autoworker living in Ohio then, as the notorious Nazi death camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible.” While the show is as stunning as its subjects are horrifying, however, it seems one particular aspect of its historical investigations has irritated the entire nation of Poland — so much so that Netflix is getting involved.
According to Variety, after receiving and acknowledging a letter of complaint addressed to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings from Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the company has agreed to “amend” The Devil Next Door. Morawiecki’s complaints about the show’s apparent historical inaccuracies specifically concerned the depiction of a map of Poland in which concentration camps like Auschwitz were shown within the country’s borders. These maps were the same as those used at the time of Demjanjuk’s trial, of course, but per Morawiecki, their use lacks necessary context.
So, to satisfy Poland, Netlfix “will amend the series by adding on-screen text, likely below the maps, to spell out the fact that the death camps sat in territory occupied by the Nazis.” In other words, nothing of The Devil Next Door‘s core — nothing the filmmakers chose to (or not to) include to serve their narrative efforts — will be changed. The streaming service is simply going to add some additional text to the map scenes, to better spell out what audiences are being shown.
“We are hugely proud of The Devil Next Door and stand by its filmmakers, their research and their work,” Netflix said in a 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.”