Poland's FM defends minister's Jewish massacre remarks

Poland's foreign minister has defended the country's education minister, saying that remarks which appeared to deny Polish responsibility for two massacres of Jews in the 1940s have been misunderstood.

The comments by Education Minister Anna Zalewska last week concerned the World War II Jedwabne massacre of 1941, when Poles burned alive some 300 Jews in a barn, and the post-war Kielce massacre of 1946, in which 42 people died, 37 of them Jews.

Jewish organizations have protested after a Zalewska TV interview in which she avoided confirming the responsibility of the Poles for the massacres.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Witold Wszczykowski said Zalewska's words have been misunderstood.

In 2001, President Aleksander Kwasniewski apologized for Jedwabne, while current President Andrzej Duda condemned anti-Semitism at the Kielce anniversary.