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FBI director James Comey’s remarks, published in the Washington Post last week, prompted an outcry in Poland and drew condemnation in the media and from politicians.
Poland is one of the United States’ closest European allies, a relationship strengthened by the conflict in Ukraine and related tensions with Russia. Polish politicians have repeatedly called for an increased U.S. military presence in the region.
Comey’s article said: “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.”
Poland says the passage wrongly implied it was complicit in the Nazi genocide of European Jews.
On Thursday, government spokeswoman, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, told private broadcaster TVN24: “We expect the word ‘apology’ from the U.S. side.”
The U.S. State Department spokeswoman said on Monday that Comey did not intend to suggest in an article last week that Poland was responsible for the Holocaust during World War Two.
Asked by ABC-affiliated broadcaster, Wate 6, on Tuesday whether he had an apology for Poland, Comey said: “I don’t. Except I didn’t say Poland was responsible for the Holocaust. In a way I wish very much that I hadn’t mentioned any countries because it’s distracted some folks from my point.”
“I worry a little bit in some countries that point has gotten lost. There is no doubt that people in Poland heroically resisted the Nazis, and some people heroically protected the Jews, but there’s also no doubt that in every country occupied by the Nazis, there were people collaborating with the Nazis.”
Poland’s deputy foreign minister Rafal Trzaskowski told public broadcaster TVP Info on Thursday: “The FBI director is trying to back out from what he said, but he didn’t have the courage to apologize.”
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