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 #announcements #usa

Phil Karlin

I think those numbers are pretty good. 

10% of Americans don't have a high school diploma or GED. Less than 40% have a bachelors degree. Less than 3% of Americans are Jewish. Ignorance of history extends far beyond and probably exceeds ignorance about the history most important to us. What do you think those numbers would have been if the survey had been about the Armenian Genocide, or the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, a classic pogrom perpetrated on African-Americans? Do you know how many were killed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution? 

I'm all for Holocaust education. But these numbers are not cause for alarm. They represent great success in these efforts.  

Phil Karlin


I went to school in New Jersey in the 50's and there was very little taught about World War II and later.  I guess they made the ridiculous assumption that since it was relatively recent we all knew about it. I was one year old when the war ended and don't remember anything about it :)

Bob Malakoff
Pittsburgh, PA

Sam G.

Prof. Lipstadt hits the nail on the head when she states: "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."

I belatedly came to recognize my obligation as a Second Genner to use the sordid history to stir the Millenial and Gen Z demographic to recognize the code words being spread online. These are mere retreads of the kind of hate speech my late father encountered as a ten-year old in Ilmenau, (Thuringia) Germany. If these young people do not know history, they will miss the point:  repetitive racist tropes are mere words, but when left unchallenged, lead to belief in conspiracies--and worse, misguided action by "true believers". We recently saw it play out by a 17-year-old in the streets of Kenosha, Wis. 

On the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, my father, noting that the name of a former Grand Wizard of the KKK was on the presidential ballot, rhetorically asked: "It can't happen here? That's what my parents thought too." Less than four years after hoodlums smashed windows of Jewish homes and businesses throughout Germany,  my grandparents were forced onto a transport on May 10, 1942 , culminating in their eventual murder somewhere "in the east".

The lesson that bears repeating is that the time to amplify Holocaust history is the moment we read and hear words of hate, division, xenophobia and support for authoritarian government. You can't blame the adherents of the "isms" Prof. Lipstadt refers to because ignorance.  The aim of my recent memoir, Loss and Legacy,  is to educate them. As I write: "Our father left us an indelible truth: Mere words laid the groundwork for what was to become the most heinous example of mankind's inhumanity."

-Amnon Gronner, USA

Elise Cundiff

I don't agree that the example cited is a distortion in any way.   Perhaps include those who thought 20 million in those who were aware of the magnitude of the  disaster - but if the question is, "how many?" and the answers are far less than 6 million that is indeed of some concern.  

It is true that too many Americans, not just those two generations,  seem to have a general ignorance and lack of understanding of history, including pertinent American history.   Our educational system is failing in that.

I had a younger co-worker (who had previously made a few vaguely anti- semitc comments to me before) tell me that  "Jews need to get over it" because it was so long ago.
She had no response when I pointed out that my two oldest brothers, along with my parents and grandparents, would have been killed - and that didn't seem so long ago to me.    

Jessica Skippon

I first read this in The Guardian and our family emails did the expected outrage. Then my 25 year old grandson researched and brought up the survey responses themselves. I was shocked at how distorted the report was. For example:

"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."

9. Approximately how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust?  Please select from the following list:


25,000              5%

100,000            6%

1 million            10%

2 million            15%

6 million            37%

20 million          10%

Not sure            17%

Personally, I would include all responses between 1 million and 20 million as knowing something about the scale of the Holocaust. But the writer chose only those who answered accurately.

I was a small child in Brooklyn when the Holocaust happened, and I found out about it in 1950 by reading Life Magazine. I don't remember ever being taught about it in high school, but self-taught myself by reading and then at 63 studying it at university. We are making assumptions that everyone knows the history of the 20th century, but I think we need to accept that we have a legacy to pass on. I don't mean just the Holocaust, but also a time when social justice was considered important.I could add many more values and qualities, but you know what I am talking about.

The full survey responses is in the link - http://www.claimscon.org/millennial-study/ but you need to go to almost the end, just before the list of States, and click on Millennial National Topline.

Jessica Skippon

Researching: SCHANZER, BORGER, BIRN, JACHZEL, Andrychau, Wadowice, Bielsko Biala


Sarah L Meyer

Amazing.  I am so sad that so many states have so little awareness, and glad to see that my former home state Iowa is among the ones with a greater awareness.  When we lived there, there were a number of survivors, most of whom are no longer living.  
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania

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