1 May 2015

Poland receives apology from US for holocaust remarks

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James B Comey, told Polish ambassador to the United States that he regretted remarks made earlier which suggested Polish complicity in the Holocaust. The comments were made in the context of a speech given at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, parts of which were reprinted in The Washington Post. The offending passage read: ‘in their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.’

The comments prompted an outcry in Poland and drew widespread condemnation from political leaders and the media. The issue is particularly delicate because of the establishment of several Nazi concentration camps on Polish territory. While accepting that ‘there were certainly episodes in which Poles were responsible for the deaths of Jews, there was no widespread complicity with the Nazi policy of extermination’, reported the New York Times. Polish officials have repeatedly stressed that Poland was conquered by Germany, and subject to the imposition of the Nazi regime without collaboration from the Polish government.

‘I regret linking Germany and Poland, … because Poland was invaded and occupied by Germany’, said Comey in a letter to the Polish ambassador. ‘The Polish state bears no responsibility for the horrors imposed by the Nazis. I wish I had not used any other country names because my point was a universal one about human nature’, he said. The apology follows a statement from the American Ambassador, Stephen Mull, that blaming the holocaust on ‘anyone else’ besides the Nazi Regime was mistaken, ‘harmful and offensive’, and did not reflect the views of the administration.

A spokesperson for the Polish foreign ministry said Poland now considers the matter settled, reported Reuters.

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Source: The New York Times | FBI Chief Tells Poland's U.S. Envoy He Regrets Holocaust Remarks
Source: The New York Times | Poland Demands Apology Over F.B.I. Director’s Holocaust Remarks
Source: Reuters | FBI chief tells Poland's U.S. envoy he regrets Holocaust remarks

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