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April 23, 2015 12:20 pm

As FBI Chief Apologizes to Poland, Jewish Group Praises Remarks Over Holocaust Complicity

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FBI director James Comey. Photo: United Stated Department of Justice

As the head of a U.S. intelligence service apologized to Poland over remarks he had made, a Jewish group offered praise for “aptly noting the complicit role that some civilians in certain European countries played in the Holocaust.”

The National Council of Young Israel praised FBI director James Comey for his remarks at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. last week. The group “defended Director Comey after his comments at the event drew a sharp rebuke from Polish officials and others,” according to a statement.

According to Poland and Hungary, Comey “insensitively” accused Polish and Hungarian civilians of abetting the German genocide of European Jewry.

“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,” Comey said. His remarks were later published by the Washington Post, leading Poland and then Hungary to respond.

“The words of the FBI director bear witness to astounding insensitivity and impermissible superficiality,” the Hungarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The National Council of Young Israel responded: “Rather than seeking to parse the verbiage that the FBI Director used while aptly noting the complicit role that some civilians in certain European countries played during the Holocaust and condemning him for his remarks, people should instead be commending Director Comey for taking such a strong and public stand against evil and tyranny.”

On Thursday Comey told the Polish ambassador that he regretted his comments and Poland said it now considered the matter settled.

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