Poland Rebukes Netflix After ‘Terrible Mistake’ on Holocaust

Maciej Martewicz

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s prime minister wrote an official letter to Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings requesting that the media streaming company correct facts about the Holocaust in its “The Devil Next Door” documentary series.

The European Union member lurched into the international spotlight last year after its nationalist ruling Law & Justice party outlawed the phrase “Polish death camps.” It also criminalized suggesting that the nation was complicit in the mass murder of Jews and other people by the Nazis during their occupation of the country in World War II.

A Netflix spokesperson said the company is “aware of the concerns” about the show and is “urgently looking into the matter” after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote to Hastings.

Morawiecki called out Netflix for what he called “a terrible mistake” in the five-part series. The show focuses on John Demjanjuk, a retired Ford Motor Co. auto mechanic who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and convicted by a German criminal court for aiding in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

The series showed a map of death camps that said they were located in Poland, using the country’s current borders.

The Polish government has repeatedly pushed for commentary on the death camps to label them as being operated by the Nazis in “German-occupied Poland,” because the eastern European nation had no government of its own on its home soil after the invasion of Adolf Hitler’s forces.

“Not only is the map incorrect, but it deceives viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps,” Morawiecki wrote, saying he believed it was an “unintentional” mistake. “Today, we still owe this truth to the victims of World War II.”

Morawiecki enclosed a 1942 map in the letter, which was backed by a comment from the Auschwitz Memorial saying that “more accuracy” should have been expected from the production.

(Updates with details of complaint in sixth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Martewicz in Warsaw at mmartewicz@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey

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