Netflix published a documentary series titled “The Devil Next Door” about a German Nazi Concentration camp guard, Ivan Demianiuk, who served in occupied Poland. In the series there is shown a map of concentration camps drawn with the current borders of Poland. This could lead to an impression that the Polish authorities were cooperating with Nazi Germany. The Polish government demands a correction and an apology.
The main misconceptions that have to be corrected are the historically inacurate maps – during World War 2 Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Moreover, some camps are marked with swastikas while some are not. That might suggest that there were other concentration camps’ operators than Nazi Germany. Finally, in the voice over we can hear “Treblinka – Poland”, omitting Germans who created and operated this death camp.
Mateusz Morawiecki, prime minister of Poland, complained to Netflix about these fatal errors in the production. He criticized the filmmakers for not clarifying that Poland was under German control during the period. He asked Netflix to either modify the map or somehow inform the audience of the “terrible mistake.”
“At that time my country did not even exist as an independent state, and millions of Poles were murdered in these camps. For this reason, this element of the series is nothing but rewriting history”. Morawiecki points out that the documentary does not indicate that these were NAZI camps.
“I wrote a letter to the head of Netflix Mr. Reed Hastings regarding historical inaccuracies in film productions on this platform. Perhaps for their creators these are not significant mistakes, but they are very harmful to Poland and our task is to react decisively. I hope that my arguments will be met with understanding from Netflix managers”.
The Institute of National Remembrance also intervened in the case, and announced that it would file a lawsuit against Netflix. Initially, the institution will request the removal of the maps from the series.