The U.S. ambassador to Poland apologized to the central European country following statements made in a recent Washington Post op-ed by FBI Director James Comey that implicated that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.
The comments, which appeared to place some blame on Poland for assisting the Nazis in attempting to exterminate the Jewish people, sparked furor inside Poland, leading U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull to apologize in a meeting with Poland's deputy foreign affairs minister Leszek Soczewica over the weekend, the Daily Mail reported.
From politicians like Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski to media personalities, the reaction to Comey's comments was strong.
FBI Director James B. Comey gestures during a news conference, Feb. 27, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
In an April 16 op-ed titled, "Why I Require FBI Agents to Visit the Holocaust Museum," Comey wrote:
Good people helped murder millions. And that’s the most frightening lesson of all — that our very humanity made us capable of, even susceptible to, surrendering our individual moral authority to the group, where it can be hijacked by evil. Of being so cowed by those in power. Of convincing ourselves of nearly anything.
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.
Comey's op-ed was based on a recent speech he delivered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States," Mull said. "Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility."
Mull also sought to clarify Comey's statements in an effort to temper tensions with the U.S. ally.
"Suggestions that Poland is responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, damaging and offensive. Director Comey for sure didn’t want to suggest that Poland holds responsibility for those criminals," he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "I think that Comey’s wider message was that there were many people in the world that aided the Nazi criminals, or there were people who did not respond sufficiently … also in the United States."
A number of concentration and death camps were located in Nazi-occupied Poland, including Auschwitz and Treblinka.
(H/T: Daily Mail)