VIENNA —Austria’s Finance Minister Maria Fekter on Sunday apologized to those offended by her comments comparing criticism of bankers and rich people to the persecution of Jews.    
Fekter made the comparison at the weekend on the sidelines of a European Union finance ministers meeting in Poland.    
“In Europe we are now pillorying the banks and the wealthy. This has already happened once, especially in the era against the Jews, but also against similar groups, and that drove us to two wars,” the minister said.    
“We must therefore do everything so that this scenario does not recur.” 
On Sunday, she apologized for any offense caused.
“I apologize to those who felt hurt by my comments,” she said in a statement.    
Fekter had on Saturday tried contain the damage caused by the comparison, explaining that she only wanted to denounce “calls to hatred.”   
She clarified that “the crimes of National Socialism (Nazi) and in particular the Holocaust are not comparable to anything else.”    
The head of Austria’s ruling Social-Democrat coalition, Chancellor Werner Faymann, on Saturday reprimanded the minister for her remarks.    
“The members of the government, who are supposed to set an example, must treat this sensitivity.”     
In a statement Sunday, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger also urged Fekter to “pay attention to her choice of words.”