Shocking new survey reveal ignorance of the Holocaust among American youth
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Shocking new survey reveal ignorance of the Holocaust among American youth

Poll commissioned by the Claims Conference says almost a quarter thought the Holocaust was a myth, while nearly two-thirds didn't know six million Jews were killed

The entrance gates to Auschwitz I, (Photo credit: Jemma Crew/PA Wire)
The entrance gates to Auschwitz I, (Photo credit: Jemma Crew/PA Wire)

A new survey of young American adults has found that most do not know that six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Amidst a series of disturbing results, the poll of 18-39 year olds in the United States – commissioned by the Claims Conference – also found that almost a quarter thought the Holocaust was a myth, had been exaggerated, or weren’t sure.

For nearly two-thirds of respondents, the idea that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust was a new one, while for one in eight the very word ‘Holocaust’ was unknown, as educators reacted with horror.

“The results are both shocking and saddening,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. “They underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories.”

He added that it was important to understand “why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past… This needs to serve as a wake-up call”.

The survey showed that more than one in ten young American adults thought that Jews actually caused the Holocaust, 48 percent could not name any concentration camps or ghettos, but 56 percent said Nazi symbols were visible on their social media platforms, while 49 percent said they had also seen Holocaust denial.

The results were gleaned from more than 1,000 interviews nationwide and 200 interviews in each state with young adults aged 18 to 39 selected at random.

HET’s Karen Pollock speaking to students in Auschwitz on the organisation’s Lessons From Auschwitz project with UJS

Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust called the results “shocking… It proves the size of the mountain we must climb”.

She said: “Holocaust education must reach every country, every state and every classroom so that all young people know where hatred, antisemitism and prejudice can lead when left unchecked.

“Alongside our colleagues and friends around the world, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that knowledge about the darkest chapter in 21st century history is learnt and understood.”

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