Poland has summoned the US ambassador to Warsaw and demanded an apology over comments made by the director of the FBI about Poland's role in the Holocaust. The incident sparked an outcry among Polish leaders.
The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned US envoy Stephen Mull on Sunday to "protest and demand an apology" for remarks made by FBI chief James Comey suggesting Poles shared some of the blame for the Nazi genocide.
Nazi Germany ran several death camps in Poland under a brutal occupation during World War II.
In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post last week, 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."
Poland says the piece wrongly implied it was complicit in the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
Mull, who was on Sunday attending memorial ceremonies
marking the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, told reporters that Comey's words were "wrong, harmful and offensive."
"I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States," he said in Polish. "Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility."
'Insult' to Poland
The words caused an uproar in Poland and drew criticism from politicians.
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Comey's comments were an "insult to thousands of Poles who helped Jews," while Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said they were "unacceptable" in Poland.
"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 II," Kopacz said. "I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter."
Mull met with Deputy Foreign Minister Leszek Soczewica on Sunday afternoon and said he would urgently contact the FBI and Washington about the matter.
More than six million Polish citizens, half of them Jews, died during the Nazi wartime occupation.
nm/bk (AFP, AP)