Do not accuse Poland of running Holocaust-era death camps.
In a post to his Facebook page on Monday, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Netflix made a “terrible mistake” in the documentary “The Devil Next Door.” At issue is a map used in the doc, which shows Holocaust-era death camps within Poland’s modern borders. This, Morawiecki writes in a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, falsely implies that Poland “was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps,” when the nation was occupied by Germany at the 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,” writes Morawiecki. “I believe that this terrible mistake has been committed unintentionally —- and I am hoping that you will be able to correct it as soon as possible, by modifying said map or otherwise informing the audience of the error.”
He includes in his post — which has racked up close to 5,000 reactions — a recommended replacement map, making clear Poland was occupied at the time and the death camps were German-operated.
A Netflix spokesperson tells Reuters “We are aware of the concerns regarding ‘The Devil Next Door’ and are urgently looking into the matter.”
The documentary tells the story of John Demjanjuk, a retired Ukrainian-American autoworker, who made a peaceful life for himself in the Ohio suburbs. His quiet existence was shattered when a group of Holocaust survivors identified him as Ivan the Terrible, a notoriously cruel guard at the Sobibor Nazi death camp. He was deported to Israel in 1986 and convicted of being a Nazi guard in 2011. He died in a German nursing home in 2012 before he could complete his appeal.
Poland is extremely sensitive to implications of Nazi complicity, and passed a law in 2018 making it a crime punishable by jail time to suggest the nation assisted the Third Reich. Following US pressure, the law has since been watered down.
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