FBI director apologizes for op-ed placing blame on Poland for Holocaust

A part of core exhibition dedicated to the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) apologized to the Polish ambassador to the U.S. for suggesting that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

In a Washington Post op-ed published April 16, FBI Director James Comey wrote, “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."

The Polish government took offense at the op-ed, claiming Comey implied that Poland was responsible for the murder of the Jews.

"I regret linking Germany and Poland... because Poland was invaded and occupied by Germany," Comey wrote in a letter to Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Ryszard Schnepf, which was released by the Polish foreign ministry, Reuters reported Thursday. "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."

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman wrote in an op-ed for MSNBC that Comey's original argument does contain some truth, but that the FBI director could have been clearer in articulating his point, because it was Nazi Germany that organized concentration camps and managed the logistics of the Holocaust.

“As evil as the Nazis were, their phantasmagoric mission to destroy the Jewish people was made much easier because the public in most European countries, Poland included, too often acted as bystanders and sometimes even as accomplices,” Foxman wrote.

Posted on April 23, 2015 .