U.S. says FBI head did not intend to suggest Poland role in Holocaust

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 20, 2015 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - FBI Director James Comey did not intend to suggest in an article last week that Poland was responsible for the Holocaust during World War Two, a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday after Washington's ambassador was summoned over the remarks.

Poland says a passage in the article wrongly implied it was complicit in the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Poland's ambassador to the United States called the remarks "unacceptable".

Spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that U.S. Ambassador to Warsaw, Stephen Mull, was called in by Polish authorities over the article published in the Washington Post, which drew condemnation in the media and from Polish politicians.

Comey said in the article: "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."

Harf said the United States "recognizes and admires the brave efforts of countless Poles, Hungarians and others in occupied Europe in protecting their Jewish countrymen and women from Nazi genocide."

"Director Comey certainly did not intend to suggest otherwise, did not intend to suggest that Poland was in some way responsible for the Holocaust," she added.

Asked whether the State Department believes Comey should apologize, Harf added: "I have nothing further for you on this."

Poland is one of the United States' closest European allies, and bilateral relations have been strengthened by the conflict in Ukraine and related tensions with Moscow.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Christian Plumb)