Angry Polish leaders have demanded an apology from the US ambassador after some ill-judged remarks on the Holocaust from FBI Director James Comey. "In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn't do something evil," Comey wrote in a Washington Post column. "They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do." Many Poles are infuriated by the suggestion they shared the blame for Nazi crimes, reports the BBC, which notes that around 6 million Polish citizens died during the 1939-45 occupation. "Poland was not a perpetrator but a victim of World War II," says Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. "I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter."
The American ambassador in Warsaw says suggestions that any country other than "Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, harmful, and offensive," adding that he thinks Comey's wider message was that there were people, even in the US, who "aided the Nazi criminals, or there were people who did not respond sufficiently," reports Reuters. In another Washington Post column, Anne Applebaum writes that it's wrong to call Poles "accomplices" because after the 1939 invasion of Poland, it was Germans who created "a lawless, violent world, one in which anyone could be arbitrarily murdered, any Jew could be deported—and any Pole who helped a Jew could be shot instantly, along with his entire family. Many were."