Poland Thanks Netflix For Agreeing To 'The Devil Next Door' Edits After Backlash Over Inaccurate Holocaust Maps

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a digital thank-you note to Netflix for agreeing to make changes to its latest documentary The Devil Next Door. The five-episode series, which launched on the streaming platform earlier this month, was called out by the ministry, the country's prime minister and other critics for featuring inaccurate maps that could be misconstrued to imply Poland was responsible for Nazi death camps.

John Demjanjuk
John Demjanjuk emerges from a Munich court after a judge sentenced him to 5 years in prison for charges related to 28,060 counts of accessory to murder on May 12, 2011, in Munich, Germany. Johannes Simon/Getty

The ministry's reaction was posted Thursday after Netflix announced an updated version of the series. "Thank you for your reaction! We appreciate that @netflix raises difficult and important topics," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on Twitter. "We are sure that historical accuracy will be essential in your future productions."

The response came after Netflix agreed to add text to the maps, which now show Poland's current boundaries instead of German-occupied territory during World War II. Representatives said the text would clarify that the concentration camps were built and operated by the German Nazi regime.

"We are hugely proud of The Devil Next Door and stand by its filmmakers, their research and their work," Netflix posted on Twitter. "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, [which] invaded the country and occupied it from 1939-1945."

Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, wrote a letter Sunday to Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings, according to Variety. "Not only is the map incorrect, but it deceives viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps, and for committing the crimes therein," the letter said, Variety reported. "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."

The Auschwitz Memorial also slammed Netflix on Twitter on Sunday.

"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," officials wrote.

"Also Majdanek was not actually an extermination camp like Treblinka or Belzec. It should be marked like Auschwitz or Gross-Rosen. And if this map should be accurate you should at least also include Stutthof there. And why in Germany only Ravensbrück is mentioned?"

Poland has long been sensitive about its association with Nazi concentration camps. In 2018, Polish lawmakers made it illegal to link the country with crimes Nazi Germany committed and banned phrases such as "Polish death camp."

The Devil Next Door tells the story of John Demjanjuk, a man living with a family in Ohio after World War II, who was accused of being the Nazi guard called Ivan The Terrible at the Treblinka death camp.

Poland Thanks Netflix For Agreeing To 'The Devil Next Door' Edits After Backlash Over Inaccurate Holocaust Maps | Culture