Grzegorz Bierecki, a senator who is a member of Poland’s right-wing ruling party, declared Wednesday that his country should be “purged” of people “not worthy of belonging to our national community.”
“We will not stop until we have fully purged Poland of people who are not worthy of belonging to our national community,” Bierecki reportedly said during a ceremony commemorating the ninth anniversary of a plane crash that killed 96 people.
Bierecki received fierce backlash for his incendiary comments, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Bierecki said that the people he was referring to are the ones who showed disrespect to the memory of the plane crash victims, according to the AP.
He later said his comments were misunderstood and that he would be offering an apology.
Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, a member of the ruling Law and Justice party that Bierecki is a part of, condemned the remarks and called on the lawmaker to apologize.
He said on Twitter that the comment was “stupid and irresponsible, giving fuel to our opponents.”
“Horrifying, shameful words evoking Europe’s darkest moments and alarming lack of remorse,” the AJC, a global Jewish advocacy group, posted on Twitter.
Grzegorz Schetyna, head of Poland’s opposition party, reportedly tweeted: “Poland, to be proud and strong must not — cannot — be ‘purged’ of anybody. The republic must be a home for all Poles!”