Maurer told Jewish representatives on Wednesday night that it had not been his intention at all to hush up the “weaknesses and mistakes” of Swiss Second World War policy.
Swiss Jewish organisations had criticized the federal president for his published remarks on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th.
Maurer had written that in the dark days of the Second World War Switzerland had remained a land of freedom and rule of law.
It had offered refuge to many persecuted and threatened people. But Jewish groups said at the time he had neglected to mention all the refugees turned away by Switzerland faced certain death.
Addressing an assembly of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) in St Gallen, Maurer was contrite.
“I would just like to apologize for leaving this aspect out,” he said, and expressed solidarity with Switzerland’s Jewish community.
Delegates applauded the president’s words, and SIG vice-president Sabine Simkhovitch-Dreyfus told French Swiss radio RTS the apology had been convincing.
Maurer had already responded to the Jewish criticism in February, saying Holocaust Remembrance Day had not been the right time to discuss Switzerland’s wartime role.