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U.S. Ambassador to Poland apologizes for FBI Director’s statement

The U.S. Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull has apologized for FBI Director James Comey’s statement that Poland was responsible for the Holocaust along with the German Nazi criminals.  He called the statement “wrong, harmful and offensive.”

As EAD reported earlier, on April 16 the Washington Post has published Comey’s article timed to the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. Comey particularly 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. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.”

In Poland they say Comey brought their country occupied by the Nazi in line with the Third Reich.  

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski called the statement of Comey act of defiance of  thousands of Poles who helped Jews. 

Without naming anyone, 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 Two. I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter."

Ambassador Mull, who attended ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis on April 19, said that any suggestion that "Poland, or any other countries other than Nazi Germany, bear responsibility for the Holocaust, is a mistake, harmful and insulting".

After being summoned for explanation, the Ambassador added: "I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States.”

However, historically everything is not that easy, TASS reports. Poland like some other countries in Europe could not avoid the state anti-Semitism yet before the WWII. The country passed a range of laws against the national minorities, including the Jews. In particular, the Jews were banned from state posts, and Jewish students had their special seats in the classrooms. In the period from 1935 up to 1937 during the pogroms 79 Jews were killed with nearly 500 injured. The policy of boycotting Jewish stores and services was a “success” too.

Historians say that during the German occupation, in Poland unlike other European countries there was almost no large-scale collaborationism, since the Nazi pursued full Germanization of that area and exception of the ethnic Polish from the public policy. Nearly 6 million people died in Poland, including in the concentration camps, during the WWII. Approximately half of them were Jews, while the rest were the Polish, according to the contemporary data.

'Poland was the only country in Europe to suffer pogroms after the war. The Kielce Pogrom of 1946 claimed the lives of at least 46 people. Only after those pogroms, the state anti-Semitism policy emerged in the country. In other countries, including the USSR, that policy was presented as “fight against Zionism.”  The Jewish population in Poland decreased from 3.3 million in 1939 to 20,000 people for the time being (this figure will be by three-four-fold higher if taking into account the ethnic Jews assimilated in the Polish public).

By data of the Anti-Defamation League engaged in surveying anti-Semitism in the world, in the present-day Poland anti-Semitism it is the highest in Europe - 45%. For comparison in Russia it is 30% and Ukraine – 38%. 

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