FBI Director’s Holocaust Remark Causes Outrage, Poland Asks For Apology

FBI Director’s Holocaust Remark Causes Outrage, Poland Asks For Apology
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; United States Department of Agriculture; U.S. Forest Service Buildings, U.S. 1, Washington, D.C. Ken Lund / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Following an article written by a top United States intelligence official alleging Polish responsibility in the holocaust of World War II, Poland has summoned the U.S. ambassador in Warsaw.


James Comey, FBI director and the author of the article published in the Washington Post, was hugely criticized by the media and politicians alike.

In the article, which was adapted from a speech given at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Mr. Comey said, “Good people helped murder millions. And that’s the most frightening lesson of all: that our very humanity made us capable—even susceptible—of surrendering our individual moral authority to the group, where it can be hijacked by evil. Of being 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.”

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Poland was the first victim of the Nazi invasion in World War II. The occupation lasted a horrifying period of six years. Three million Polish Jews lost their lives.

According to International Business Times, the article elicited reproach from Polish people, saying that the piece accused the country guilty of killing European Jews.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said, “To those who are incapable of presenting the historic truth in an honest way, I want to say that Poland was not a perpetrator but a victim of World War II. I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter.”

Stephen Mull, U.S. Ambassador in Warsaw, responded to Poland’s announcement, saying he will attend a meeting at the foreign ministry on Sunday, as per Reuters.

He said, “Suggestions that Poland, or any other country apart from the Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, harmful and offensive.

“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.”

According to ABC News, in 2012, President Barack Obama said he was regretful for calling one of the concentration camps established by Nazi Germany as a “Polish death camp.” The comment was met with rebuke by the Polish government, which said it implied that Poland was the co-conspirator of the holocaust.

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