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What is the OSI from The Devil Next Door? Office of Special Investigations explained

John Demjanjuk from The Devil Next Door
John Demjanjuk from The Devil Next Door. Pic credit: Netflix

The latest docu-series on Netflix entitled The Devil Next Door raises a bunch of questions about the balance between what people know and what people can prove. Such was the case for John Demjanjuk who was identified as Ivan the Terrible and deported for the allegation of being said Nazi in Israel.

The department that carried this out was an office set up by the Justice Department called OSI or Office of Special Investigations and their mission was extremely important in the healing of Holocaust survivors.

What is OSI and why were they so important? Here is what to know about the Office of Special Investigations from The Devil Next Door.

What is OSI from The Devil Next Door?

In the series, Eli Rosenbaum– who was the former Director of the Office Special Investigations–explains that the OSI went by the nickname of “Nazi Hunting Unit” and that description is fitting.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the OSI was created in 1979 to hunt down war criminals who participated in Nazi acts and ran for their lives to the United States.

Part of their efforts was to bring justice by investigating those who were on a list and denaturalizing their citizenships and deporting them to the appropriate place for trial if needed. John Demjanjuk just happened to be one of the unlucky people who was identified and brought to trial and denaturalized by OSI.

Jewish Virtual Library further explains that OSI has denaturalized 98 targets during its entire scope ending in 2004. Additionally, the OSI has brought legal action to 34 suspected individuals and has denied entry for an estimated 70,000 applicants for suspicion of Nazi war crimes.

The Holocaust Encyclopedia also states that this division of its kind was one of the only law enforcement units to receive awards from Holocaust survivors, which is rather remarkable.

Beyond this, the efforts of the OSI struggled to maintain purpose after 2004, so the unit expanded its scope to anyone fleeing to the United States who has inflicted human rights violations such as “genocide, torture, war crimes, recruitment or use of child soldiers, female genital mutilation.”

Because of this, the Office of Special Investigations has now been appropriately rebranded as The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section or HRSP.

The Devil Next Door is now streaming on Netflix.

John Dotson is a film and television reviewer and commentator from Texas. His favorite part of what he does is getting to discuss film and... read more
John Dotson

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