FBI Director James B. Comey
FBI Director James B. Comey Reuters

Poland's leaders have guardedly accepted words of regret from FBI director James Comey over remarks that seemed to equate Poland's role in the Holocaust with that of Germany, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The remarks made last week sparked protests and demands for an apology from Poland's leaders, who stressed that Poland was a victim, not a perpetrator of World War II.

Comey had said in a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about the importance of Holocaust education that, “in their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary ... didn't do something evil."

"They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do. That should truly frighten us," Comey said in the speech, which was also adapted as an op-ed by the Washington Post.

Warsaw reacted angrily, and summoned American Ambassador Stephen Mull to the foreign ministry to explain the remarks. Mull later told reporters that he had said the U.S. position was that the Nazis bore sole responsibility for the Holocaust which left six million European Jews dead in World War II.

Comey himself, meanwhile, met on Wednesday with Poland's ambassador to Washington, Ryszard Schnepf, and handed him a handwritten note expressing regret over linking Poland and Germany in his speech, according to Poland's Foreign Ministry.

"Poland was invaded and occupied by Germany. The Polish State bears no responsibility for the horrors imposed by the Nazis. I wish I had not used any other country names because my point was a universal one about human nature," Comey's letter said, according to AP.

Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna reacted by saying, "Better late than never. The matter is closed."

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, however, was less forgiving, saying according to AP, "To be sure, every Pole had expected more."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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