1 in 4 Millennials Haven’t Heard of The Holocaust
They probably think Buchenwald is a type of avocado.
According to a recent survey released in time for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, a significant portion of millennials have not heard of the Holocaust, are not sure if they’ve heard of the Holocaust and even when they have heard of the camps, they’re stuck guessing at the number of deaths that occurred.
No wonder they’re so keen to give up on gun rights. They’ve never heard of what happens when you pry self-protection away from citizens, as the plight of the German and Polish Jews played out in the lead-up to World War II. After being robbed of property, political power and firearms, Jews who were unable to escape were put into ghettos and then on to concentration or death camps. In the aftermath of the Allied invasion of Nazi lands, it was found that six million Jews and many other ‘undesirable’ people had died in ghettos and camps.
‘Significant Lack of Holocaust Knowledge in US’
In a survey conducted paid for by the Claims Conference and administered by Schoen Consulting asking questions of several ages groups in the United States, questions ranged from knowledge of anti-semitism and Nazis to more specific questions about the Holocaust and its concentration and death camps. According to the press release along with the study:
“Nearly one-third of all Americans (31 percent) and more than 4-in-10 Millennials (41 percent) believe that substantially less than 6 million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust.
While there were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, almost half of Americans (45 percent) cannot name a single one – and this percentage is even higher amongst Millennials”
As well, the survey found that:
- 70% of Americans say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than before
- 58% of Americans believe something like the Holocaust could happen again
This is despite the belief of most (93%) of people responding saying that all students should learn about the Holocaust in their schools, and (80% believe) that it’s important to keeping teaching it to prevent it from happening again.
As for questions on modern anti-semitism:
“Approximately two-thirds (68%) of Americans believe there is antisemitism in the United States today and a combined majority (51%) of Americans believe there are a great deal (17%) or many (34%) Neo-Nazis in the United States today.”
On top of that, 11% of respondents said that “it is acceptable” for a person to “hold Neo-Nazi views.” That’s the same percentage of the population who are left-handed.
Schoen Consulting has worked with clients from HBO, Major League Baseball, Walmart, Apple Music and Time Warner to Democratic concerns including Bill Clinton and Everytown For Gun Safety.
Conducted By ‘Claims Against Germany’ Group
The survey was conducted by the The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the Claims Conference. From their website:
“The mission of the Claims Conference over its 50-year history has always been to secure what we consider a small measure of justice for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. We have pursued this goal since 1951 through a combination of negotiations, disbursing funds to individuals and organizations, and seeking the return of Jewish property lost during the Holocaust.”
The organization was founded in 1951 and they offer services in Russian, Hebrew, German, French and English with offices all over the world in order to offer services to Jewish victims of Nazis across the globe.
What Else Is Missing?
Being clueless about the Holocaust might be a symptom of a larger lack of education. It would have been interesting to see if any of the respondents could even find Germany and Poland on the map, or if they had heard of the Western Front of the war in the Pacific Theater.
According to the survey, while most people could guess that camps were located in Germany, they were unaware of the millions of Polish Jews who were affected.
I’m not too brushed up on the war myself, but even I know that any train going east meant death, but western camps were dense with starvation and typhus. Hold that thought — do millennials even know what it means to go hungry?
Overall, World War II killed 2.3% of the world’s population. The last veterans of the war are almost all gone, and the last civilian survivors are dwindling. It’s a good thing to ask these questions, even if the results reveal ignorance.
Sources: CBS News, Claims Conference, Schoen Consulting