Netflix is bringing us what looks to be another riveting true crime docuseries with The Devil Next Door. But this one isn’t your standard whodunnit fare. The story presents us with an ordinary man in Ohio who may be much more than meets the eye. Much worse than meets the eye, in fact.
John Demjanjuk is known to his friends and family as, simply, a retired autoworker. But he may be hiding a diabolical past. Demjanjuk is accused of actually being the notorious “Ivan the Terrible,” a Ukrainian SS guard at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust. The then twenty-something guard operated two tank engines that fed the camp’s gas chambers. He was known as a cruel torturer of his victims, cutting off their ears as they worked, whipping them, and piercing them with a sword before sending them to their ultimate demise.
The question hanging over the series, which documents Demjanjuk’s trial in Israel, is whether or not he actually was the sinister guard of Treblinka. Though he professes his innocence, his accusers are many. If the series is able to elicit conflicted feelings within its viewers, the filmmakers have done their job.
The Devil Next Door comes from One Man Show and Submarine Deluxe Production, in association with Yes Studios. The series was directed and produced by Daniel Sivan (The Oslo Diaries) and Yossi Bloch (editor, Poisoned). It was executive produced by Josh Braun (A History of Violence), Ben Braun, Dan Braun (Wild Wild Country), Danna Stern (On the Spectrum), Guy Lavie (King Bibi), and Koby Gal-Raday (Best Unkept Secret).
The five-episode series will be released on November 4. You can check out the gripping trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Devil Next Door:
THE DEVIL NEXT DOOR is the true story of John Demjanjuk, a retired Ukrainian-American autoworker living a peaceful life with his family in Cleveland, Ohio suburbs in the 1980s. When a group of Holocaust survivors identify Demjanjuk’s photograph as “Ivan the Terrible” – a notoriously cruel Nazi death camp guard who tortured and killed nearly one million Jewish prisoners during World War II – Demjanjuk’s American dream is shattered and he is extradited to Israel to stand trial for crimes against humanity. Israel is transfixed as a media frenzy erupts around the trial in Jerusalem, the nation plunged into trauma and fascination by “the trial of the century.” As the case uncovers dark corners of memory and the horrors of war, the Demjanjuk case becomes a race against time for the defendant and his alleged victims.