- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2015

When FBI director James Comey said last week the Holocaust “the most significant event in world history” and said he required all of his agents to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, he unwittingly offended Poland.

“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil,” Mr. Comey said in a speech last week, of which some excerpts were published in the Washington Post. “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.”

The comment stung Warsaw – so much so on Sunday it summoned its U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull to its foreign ministry in Poland to respond to Mr. Comey’s comments.

America’s top diplomat in Warsaw made clear to officials when he met them, that Mr. Comey did not speak for the United States, NPR reported.

After his meeting at Poland’s foreign ministry, Mr. Mull said suggesting any country other than Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust “is harmful and offensive,” NPR reported.

“Director Comey certainly did not mean to suggest that Poland was in any way responsible for those crimes,” Mr. Mull said.

This is not the first time Poland has been offended at remarks made by U.S. officials regarding the period of World War II. President Obama made remarks in 2012 where he referred to a “Polish death camp.” The administration later said it was a “misstatement.”

“To those who don’t know the historical truth, I would like to say today: Poland was not an aggressor but a victim during the Second World War,” Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said in a press conference Monday. “We would expect officials discussing these matters to know this.”

Referring to Mr. Comey, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a foreign policy adviser to the government and a survivor of the Auschwitz camp, told the New York Times: “This man probably has as much to do with Jewish matters in Eastern Europe as I do with Colombia — except that I don’t discuss Colombian issues in public.”


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