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New Netflix Documentary 'The Devil Next Door' Could Be The Streaming Site's Darkest One Yet

New Netflix Documentary 'The Devil Next Door' Could Be The Streaming Site's Darkest One Yet

The documentary tells the story of John Demjanjuk, an average US immigrant, who turned out to have the darkest of roles in World War II.

Ciara Sheppard

Ciara Sheppard

You might know your neighbour on first name terms. Perhaps you borrow a couple of eggs or sugar from them now and again, babysit their kids, or put their house number down for DHL orders you aren't in for.

But how well do you really know them? A new Netflix documentary explores what happens when a group of Holocaust survivors were posed this question back in 1975.

The Devil Next Door centres on the true story of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who lived a peaceful life in a leafy suburb in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and daughter.

Demjanjuk, an auto worker, was by all accounts living the American Dream, until in 1975, Michael Hanusiak, an editor of Ukrainian News, cited his name in a list of ethnic Ukrainians living in the US suspected of collaborating with Germans in World War II.

Eleven survivors of the Holocaust identified Demjanjuk as 'Ivan the Terrible', a notorious guard at a Nazi extermination camp responsible for untold savagery and torture and an accessory to systematic murder of thousands of Jews.


In 1986, Demjanjuk - who had changed his name to John from Ivan after receiving US citizenship - was deported to Israel to stand trial for his alleged war crimes.

He was sentenced to death in 1988, but the verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993, based on new evidence that cast 'reasonable doubt' over the true identity of 'Ivan the Terrible', including the fact he was nearly a decade younger than the age the war criminal was believed to be.

What followed was a tug-of-war between Demjanjuk's defence and the international judicial system (even seeing his US citizenship restored and then revoked again).

Eventually, Demjanjuk was convicted in Germany as an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews.

Supreme court justice Dov Levin and district court judge Dalia Dorner looking at a photo album during the trial of John Demjanjuk in jerusalem (
Yaakov Saar/Wikimedia)

However, according to Munich state court, Demjanjuk does not have a criminal record because his conviction had not been completed through the appeal judgment at the time of his death.

The Devil Next Door, a five-part series, features tear-filled testimony from Holocaust survivors, now well into their 80s and 90s, who believed Demjanjuk to be the monster they they knew all those years ago.

It also delves into the other side of the story, and the people who believed Demjanjuk was innocent.

The Devil Next Door arrives on Netflix on 4th November.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: True Crime, TV Entertainment, Netflix