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24th Oct 2019

Netflix’s jaw-dropping new documentary examines ‘one of the cruellest people who ever existed on Earth’

Paul Moore

An infamous case that lasted three decades.

In 2011, a retired American factory worker named John Demjanjuk passed away. To most people, that piece of information means very little.

However, plenty of others know differently because Demjanjuk was a convicted Nazi death camp guard at Sobibor and for over three decades, he pleaded his innocence.

Ultimately, Demjanjuk was convicted in May 2011 of 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder and sentenced to five years in prison, despite having protested his innocence for three decades and claiming he was a victim of mistaken identity.

Since his conviction had not been completed through the appeal judgment at the time of his death, Demjanjuk remained not guilty under German law.

Drafted into the Red Army at the start of the second World War, Demjanjuk was captured as a POW by the German army. He was then trained in the administration of concentration camps at Trawniki and sent to work as a guard at Sobibor.

Throughout his life, Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk had steadfastly denied any involvement in the Nazi Holocaust since the accusations were first levelled against him more than 30 years ago.

In Netflix’s new documentary, The Devil Next Door, viewers will be privy to the story of a “Cleveland grandfather who is brought to trial in Israel, accused of being the infamous Nazi death camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible”.

Investigations of Demjanjuk’s Holocaust-era past began in 1975. He was twice stripped of his American citizenship, deported once and extradited twice to stand trial on criminal charges away from the US, once to Israel and once to Germany.

As stated in the trailer, The Devil Next Door will examine one of the longest legal cases involving “one of the cruellest people who ever existed on Earth” when it’s released on 4 November.

However, not everything is as it seems.

Take a look at what’s in store.

Clip via Netflix