Story at a glance
- Sixty-three percent of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, while 36 percent believed 2 million Jews or fewer were killed.
- Eleven percent of American Millennial and Gen Z respondents said Jews caused the Holocaust.
- Forty-eight percent of those surveyed could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto.
A state-by-state analysis on Holocaust knowledge among millennial and Generation Z Americans is revealing a disturbing misunderstanding about the worst genocide the world has ever seen.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany on Wednesday released findings from the U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey. The organization said the findings demonstrate a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts nationally among adults ages 18 to 39.
The survey found 63 percent of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust while 36 percent believed 2 million Jews or fewer were killed.
While there were more than 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos that were established during World War II to detain and murder Jews throughout Europe, 48 percent of those surveyed could not name a single one.
More than half were unable to identify the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and only 6 percent were familiar with the infamous Dachau camp.
“There was virtually no awareness of concentration camps and ghettos overall,” the organization said.
The most troubling finding of the survey is that 11 percent of American millennial and Gen Z respondents said Jews caused the Holocaust. In New York, nearly 20 percent believed Jews were responsible for the Holocaust, followed by 16 percent in Louisiana, Tennessee and Montana. At least 15 percent said the same in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico.
“The results are both shocking and saddening and they underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories,” Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, 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 said.
Nearly half of respondents also said they have come across Holocaust denial or distortion on social media while 30 percent said they had witnessed Nazi symbols on social media networks or in their community.
The survey's data came from 1,000 interviews across the country, conducted by phone and online with a random, demographically representative sample of respondents ages 18 to 39.
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