The riveting tale of John Demjanjuk is one of the most haunting cases to have surfaced in global history. It is one of the biggest true-crime mysteries ever. To date, it is not clear if Demjanjuk was a simple, regular immigrant from Ukraine who lived a modest life while working as an autoworker in Cleveland or if he actually was Ivan the Terrible in his past. For those who are unaware, Ivan was one of the cruelest Nazi guards, who had committed numerous atrocities on prisoners held in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
Netflix’s ‘The Devil Next Door’ is a limited series that chronicles Demjanjuk’s case, which spanned over three decades. It tries to uncover if he was actually a monster as the government stated him to be or if he was simply a victim of wrong identity.
Directed by Daniel Sivan and Yossi Bloch, the first season of the true crime documentary was extremely well-received. But will there be a ‘The Devil Next Door’ season 2? Before we answer that question, let’s look into the details of the show.
Devil Next Door Cast
‘The Devil Next Door’ is narrated via voiceovers of experts, related personnel to Demjanjuk’ case, and law-enforcement officers. The story is also told through archived clips of courtroom trials, recordings, survivor testimonies, and unseen video footage.
What is The Devil Next Door About?
We have all heard about the Stephen King novella, Apt Pupil, have we not? It is a story where a certain teenager accuses his neighbor of being a Nazi criminal. Strangely, around the same time, i.e in the 1980s, the government accused a real individual of being a former Nazi in Cleveland, Ohio. Named John Demjanjuk, the family man was an American autoworker with Ukrainian descent. As per allegations, he was Ivan the Terrible, one of the most devilish guards in the concentration camps during the Holocaust.
‘The Devil Next Door’ is a docuseries that follows Demjanjuk’s accusation by Holocaust survivors, him being sent to Israel in 1986 for trial, and the media coverage of the entire incident. As per Netflix, “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.”
‘The Devil Next Door’ might be one of the darkest true crime documentaries as it bravely approaches one of the most controversial cases in history. Two governments alleged that Demjanjuk took up another name in the US to conceal his past, when he was called Ivan the Terrible. Demjanjuk stood trial in both America and Israel and the courts ruled him guilty on both occasions.
But the strange part is, Demjanjuk maintained his claim that he was innocent till the end. So that left many confused. Was he actually Ivan the Terrible? Or was his arrest a mistake, a conspiracy, or a case of identity theft? In the vicinity, Demjanjuk was known as “Cleveland grandfather” and even his family still claims that he was a gentle soul throughout his lifetime. So, what was his history?
According to Demjanjuk’s own words, he had actually served in World War II as a Russian soldier and was then imprisoned by the Nazis. In fact, he said that he was a war prisoner rather than being a cruel guard. Moreover, when he settled in the US, he had no troubles. He was tending to his family, leading a simple life, until he was pulled away to court. Once he landed in prison, he was branded as Ivan the Terrible and various Holocaust survivors testified that they had faced the atrocities done by a deranged guard at Treblinka, a concentration camp in Poland. This particular guard received the nickname Ivan because the name pointed to an equally savage Russian Tsar with the same name — one of the “cruelest people who ever existed on earth.”
Additionally, the series also features analysts who say that Demjanjuk was a victim of circumstance. Later, in 1992, Newsweek divulged new evidence which proved that Demjanjuk was not really Ivan. So, what was the actual case? ‘The Devil Next Door’ examines both sides of the story and attempts to offer clarity on the matter.
The Devil Next Door Season 2 Release Date: Will it Happen?
‘The Devil Next Door’ season 1, consisting of five episodes, premiered in all its entirety on Netflix on November 4, 2019.
The miniseries is the latest addition to the streaming giant’s terrific collection of true crime titles, which include other acclaimed shows like ‘Making a Murderer‘, ‘The Innocent Man‘, and ‘The Disappearance of Madeline McCann‘.
As far as another season of the show goes, Netflix has made it clear that the show was conceived as a limited miniseries. Which means, no second season. Having said that, even ‘Making a Murderer’ was initially conceived as a miniseries, but it did go on receive a second season. So, even though likelihood of ‘The Devil Next Door’ season 2 is minimal, a lot will depend on whether there are any new discoveries made in the case.
The Devil Next Door Trailer
You can watch the official trailer for ‘The Devil Next Door’ season 1 below:
Read More: Best True Crime Podcasts