50 State Survey Finds One Out of 10 Millennials and Generation Z Didi Not Recall Word 'Holocaust: or Basic Facts of the Genocide #announcements # holocaust #usa #announcements
Jan Meisels Allen
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany commissioned a study among 50-states of Holocaust knowledge among millennials (born between 1981-1996) and Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2015 ~68 million in US). The study is The U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey. The survey's data came from 1,000 interviews nationwide, and 200 interviews conducted by phone and online with a random, demographically representative sample of respondents ages 18 to 39. One in 10 respondents did not recall every having heard the word “Holocaust”, nor were they clear about the basic facts of the genocide.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and over half of those thought the death toll was fewer than 2 million. While there were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos established during World War II, but nearly half of U.S. respondents could not name a single one.
The head of the Claims Conference said, "If we let these trends continue for another generation, the crucial lessons from this terrible part of history could be lost."
The survey also raised concerns about Holocaust denial, “just 90 percent of respondents said they believed that the Holocaust happened. Seven percent were not sure, and 3 percent denied that it happened.” One of the most disturbing revelations, the survey noted, is that 11 percent of respondents believe Jews caused the Holocaust. The number climbs to 19 percent in New York, the state with the largest Jewish population.
Experts say part of the problem is social media. The survey shows that about half of millennial and Gen Z respondents have seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts online. Facebook said, "We take down any post that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust…The same goes for any content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying about the atrocities, spews hate, or advocates for violence against Jewish people in any way."
In countries where Holocaust denial is illegal, such as Germany, France and Poland, Facebook takes steps to restrict access in accordance with the law, the spokesperson said.
Anti-Semitism expert, Deborah Lipstadt said, "When you learn the history of the Holocaust, you are not simply learning about the past." "These lessons remain relevant today in order to understand not only anti-Semitism, but also all the other 'isms' of society. There is real danger to letting them fade."
The Holocaust is associated with World War II, but 22 percent of respondents thought it was associated with World War I. Ten percent were not sure, 5 percent said the Civil War, and 3 percent said the Vietnam War.
The state with highest score in Holocaust awareness was Wisconsin, and Arkansas has the lowest Holocaust knowledge score. The states with the highest Holocaust Knowledge Scores are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, and Montana. The states with the lowest Holocaust Knowledge Scores are: Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas. While certain states mandate teaching the Holocaust, three states which do mandate the study, New York, Indiana and California, were most likely to believe the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated, at rates higher than 20 percent of the surveyed population.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents indicate that they believe the Holocaust could happen again. Eighty-percent of the Claims Conference survey respondents agreed that it was important to learn about the Holocaust partly so it never happens again.
To read more about the study see: http://www.claimscon.org/millennial-study/
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee