CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Netflix’s The Devil Next Door is maybe even more appropriately titled for anyone in Cleveland.
The new docu-series is on convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk, the retired Ukrainian-American auto worker who lived in Seven Hills, Ohio.
It’s asserted Demjanjuk was responsible for the deaths of about 28,000 Jews at an extermination camp.
On Nov. 4, Netflix released the docu-series focused on the man who was put to trial to learn his identity and if he was responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews and crimes against humanity.
Those who knew him here called him the “Cleveland grandfather.” Those who knew him in German-occupied Poland called him “Ivan the Terrible.” The U.S. Department of Justice said he was born Ivan Mkykolaivych Demianiuk and changed his name to “John Demanjuk” when he was granted citizenship in 1958.
A year later he was deported to Israel to stand trial for war crimes after being identified by 11 Holocaust survivors.
In 1988, he was found guilty of murder and acts of extraordinarily savage violence against camp prisoners in 1942-1943 and sentenced to death.
The Israeli Supreme Court overturned the decision in 1993 based on new evidence that claimed he couldn’t be “Ivan the Terrible” based on his age.
His citizenship was restored and he returned to Seven Hills until he was charged again in Israel in 2001 based on new evidence and his citizenship was once again revoked.
As a stateless man, his deportation was ordered after many years of appeals and his trial began in 2009 in Germany. He was convicted in 2011 as an accessory to murder and sentenced to five years in prison.
The conviction was annulled because he died before his appeal, which means Demjanjuk technically died an innocent man in 2012 in Germany after 35 years of legal battles.
He maintained his innocence until his death at 91.
His body was returned to the Cleveland area and after his family feared retaliation and protest at his funeral, he was secretly buried.