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Polish prime minister pens furious letter to Netflix over map in Nazi doc 'The Devil Next Door'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
The Devil Next Door (Netflix)

The prime minister of Poland has unleashed a broadside against the makers of new Netflix documentary The Devil Next Door.

In a post to Facebook that he also sent as a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Mateusz Morawiecki said the film “falsely places several German Nazi concentration camps in modern-day Poland’s borders” without making explicitly clear that the camps were operated by the German forces.

Read more: Vietnam bans Abominable over disputed map

The documentary, released on Netflix in five parts, tells the story of the trial of John Demjanjuk, a car mechanic living in the US who was accused in the 1970s of having been the notorious guard in the Nazi extermination camps known as Ivan the Terrible.

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

He was convicted of tens of thousands of counts of acting as an accessory to murder in a German court in 2011 but died in 2012 aged 91 while still appealing his conviction.

Morawiecki has accused the filmmakers of “rewriting history” with their maps of where the death camps were located, and leading audiences to believe that “Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps”.

“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,” he says in the letter.

A spokesperson for Netflix told Reuters: “We are aware of the concerns regarding The Devil Next Door and are urgently looking into the matter.”

It's not the first time in recent weeks that movie maps have hit headlines.

John Demjanjuk leaves a courtroom in Munich, southern Germany, on 12 May, 2011 (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Last month, a swath of countries in south-east Asia called for the animated movie Abominable to be banned due to objections to a map shown onscreen.

A Chinese co-production, the DreamWorks Animation movie features a scene in which a map includes the contested “Nine-Dash Line” in the South China Sea.

The line indicates an area of resource-rich land that is being claimed by China, but is contested by countries including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.