FBI chief apologizes for Holocaust comment on Poland


(JTA) — FBI director James Comey apologized for publishing an article that suggested Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

Comey’s apology, which came on Monday at the urging of the Polish foreign ministry, follows his op-ed about the Holocaust, which was published last week by the Washington Post.

“I regret linking Germany and Poland … because Poland was invaded and occupied by Germany,” Comey said in a letter to the Polish ambassador released by the Polish foreign ministry Thursday, according to Reuters.

Comey’s article 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.”

But in his letter to Warsaw, Comey wrote: “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.”

The United States’ ambassador to Poland, Stephen Mull, criticized Comey’s op-ed as historically inaccurate. But the Polish foreign ministry insisted Comey also apologize, the PAP news agency reported. With Comey’s apology, Warsaw considers the matter settled, officials told Reuters.

Hungary, which, unlike Poland, was an ally of Nazi Germany, also protested Comey’s remarks. “The words of the FBI director bear witness to astounding insensitivity and impermissible superficiality,” the Hungarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Separately, Hungary’s government organized an event last week to commemorate the Holocaust at Britain’s House of Lords — the British parliament’s upper house — as part of Hungary’s presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA.

London was “a symbolic venue as Britain had a very strong Jewish community from whom there’s a lot to learn,” Szabolcs Takacs, Hungary’s state secretary for EU affairs, said.

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