U.S. Diplomat Apologizes for FBI Director’s Remarks About Polish Wartime Behavior

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FBI director James Comey speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Tribute dinner in Washington, April 15, 2015. Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum / JTA Photo Archive

The U.S. ambassador to Poland apologized for the FBI director’s comments about Poles being accomplices in the Holocaust.

Stephen Mull said Monday that FBI director James Comey was not speaking for the United States government when he accused Poles and Hungarians of complicity in Nazi atrocities during a speech April 14 at a benefit for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fox News reported. Comey’s speech was published April 16 in the Washington Post with the headline “Why I require FBI agents to visit the Holocaust Museum.”

Any suggestion that “Poland or any other countries other than Nazi Germany bear responsibility for the Holocaust is a mistake, harmful and insulting,” Mull said Monday. “Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility.

Comey’s speech spurred Poland’s Foreign Ministry to demand an apology on Sunday.

“This statement is offensive to Poles, for the memory of the victims of the Nazi occupation of Poland and a profound ignorance of the history of this period,” said Poland’s ambassador to the United States, Ryszard Schnepf, adding that Comey was “accusing Poles of perpetuating crimes which not only they did not commit, but which they themselves were victims of.”

Hungary’s Foreign Ministry also voiced objection to the remarks in a note of protest to the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.

Hungary “rejects stereotypes and allegations against Hungary and the Hungarian people,” the Budapest-based Foreign Ministry said in an email on Monday, adding that Comey’s remarks showed “incredible insensitivity and unacceptable superficiality,” Bloomberg News reported.

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