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Almost 50% of Americans under 40 can’t name a concentration camp or ghetto, survey finds

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The study, which was conducted by the Claims Conference, surveyed the millennial and Generation Z Populace in all 50 states in the US for the first time ever; 1 in 10 respondents under the age of 40 believe that the Jews caused the Holocaust

By ILANIT CHERNICK

Just 75 years after the Holocaust ended, a new study has found that almost 50% of Americans under the age of 40 are unable to name a concentration camp or ghetto.

The study, which was conducted by the Claims Conference, surveyed the millennial and Generation Z Populace in all 50 states in the US for the first time ever.

Results revealed that 63% of all national survey respondents do not know that six million Jews were murdered, while 1 in 10 respondents under the age of 40 believe that the Jews caused the Holocaust.

This was highest In New York, where an astounding 19% of respondents felt Jews caused the Holocaust.

According to the poll, over half of the respondents – 56% – were unable to identify Auschwitz-Birkenau, “and there was virtually no awareness of concentration camps and ghettos overall.”

As antisemitism continues to surge in the United States, almost 60% of respondents said they believed the Holocaust is something that could happen again.

Almost half the respondents (49%) also highlighted that they had seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.

Looking at the results state by state, the Claims Conference found that the states with the lowest Holocaust Knowledge Scores included Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas, while those states that had the highest Holocaust Knowledge Scores included Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, and Montana.

Reacting to the results, Claims Conference president Gideon Taylor said that they “are both shocking and saddening.

“They underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories,” he said. “We need 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 to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act,” Taylor added.

For Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, Michael Dickson, the “results of this survey are jarring. 

“Before long, we will live in an age without direct access to Holocaust survivors,” he told IsraelNewsStand. “Who will bear witness on their behalf to the atrocities of the Nazis and who will teach generations to come to the lessons we must learn from the Shoah?”

Dickson stressed that “educational systems must do more to not just educate but to effectively engage young people about the Holocaust.”

Addressing the importance of Holocaust education in today’s day and age, the director of Education Initiatives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Levine Institute for Holocaust Education, Gretchen Skidmore, said that “quality Holocaust educations helps students think critically about how and why the Holocaust happened.

“The study of the Holocaust engages students in understanding the fragility of societies, the dangers of antisemitism and hatred, and the importance of promoting human dignity. This history can inform our understanding of our own roles and responsibilities in the decisions we face today.”  

In response to the polls concerning results, Claims Conference executive vice president Greg Schneider said that the overall lack of Holocaust knowledge was not the only troubling thing about this survey. 

“Combined with the number of Millennials and Gen Z who have seen Holocaust denial on social media, it is clear that we must fight this distortion of history and do all we can to ensure that the social media giants stop allowing this harmful content on their platforms. 

“Survivors lost their families, friends, homes and communities; we cannot deny their history,” he concluded.

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