Polish government criticises US after World War Two comments

The United States’ director of the FBI has come under criticism from the Polish government after he made comments related to World War Two.

James Comey was delivering a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington when he commented that Germany, Poland and Hungary were murders and accomplices during World War Two.

The remarks were also published in the Washington Post as part of a feature written by Mr Comey.

When the Polish authorities heard about and read the comments the Polish government summoned the US ambassador in Warsaw to provide an explanation and apology.

Poland believes that Mr Comey’s remarks suggest Poland was complicit in the killing of millions of Jews, ethnic peoples and prisoners during the war.

In Poland, many survivors of the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of Poland still recall the cruelty and ruthlessness of the Germans. During the war it is thought that over six million Polish people were killed, The Telegraph reports.

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has said that the remarks were unacceptable and suggested that Mr Comey did not understand the historical facts. She said that Poland was not a criminal, but was instead a victim of the Nazi regime during the war. She added that she would have expected that a man in Mr Comey’s position would have been more knowledgeable and capable of speaking of World War Two events.

PolishPresident Bronislaw Komorowski said Mr Comey’s comments were stupid, but that it would not affect the relationship between the two countries.

Veterans in Poland have been discussing the comments and one 93 year old Auschwitz survivor said he was concerned that someone would say that who was so high up in US politics.

The US ambassador to Poland, Stephen Mull, met with Poland’s Foreign Minister and said that the comments were not a representation of the United States’ view of World War Two.

Polish ministers and foreign ambassadors had just attended Poland’s 72nd commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. At the time the Nazis, removed thousands of Jewish Poles who had been living in the ghettos and took them to Majdanek concentration camp where most of them were murdered.

Germany invaded Poland in 1939 causing the outbreak of World War Two, as Britain and France declared war on Germany. The Nazis occupied Poland throughout the war until 1945, where many of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps were located, and the murder of millions of prisoners took place.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE