Half of participants reported Holocaust denial on social media, unable to name concentration camps.
A new survey has revealed shocking information on the state of Holocaust awareness among America's younger citizens.
The Claims Conference unveiled their findings Wednesday regarding knowledge of the Holocaust in Gen Z and Millennial groups that showed a disturbing lack of knowledge regarding the Holocaust. For one, 63 percent of respondants did not know six million Jewish people perished during the Holocaust, while 36 percent believed the death toll to be two million.
A full 48 percent of participants were also unable to identify any of the 40,000 concentration camps.
The study, titled "U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey," is the first to survey Gen Z and Millennial groups across all 50 states. Using a sample of 1,000 participants between the ages of 18-39, the findings were based off the "Holocaust knowledge score," which was calculated by percentages under three key categories: those who had heard of the Holocaust, those who could identify one of the concentration camps, and those who knew six million people died.
“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,” said Gideon Taylor, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which seeks justice for Holocaust survivors and their families.
"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," said Greg Schneider, Claims Conference's Executive Vice President.
The Holocaust was a period of state-sanctioned genocide carried out against European Jews in Nazi Germany. Under Adolf Hitler's regime, six million Jews were exterminated in concentration camps across Germany and Poland between 1941 and 1945.
One of the most troubling conclusions of the survey was the prevalance of Holocaust denial. Almost half of participants cited seeing anti-Semitic content and images on their social media feeds, as well as in their own communities (Nevada topped it at 70 percent). The survey reported an alarming 11 percent of participants who believed it was Jewish people who caused the Holocaust, with the highest statewide percentage in New York at 19 percent.
A number of factors can be attributed to the survey's findings, among them the closing chapter of living Holocaust survivors who can enlighten the current generations of the past's horrors, as well as a surge of anti-Semitic rhetoric on social media platforms. To combat its spread, the organization introduced its digital campaign "NoDenyingIt" that features survivors requesting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbeg to take down anti-Semitic content.
While these results are undoubtedly worrisome, the survey contained a silver lining: knowledge is power. A majority of participants—at 64 percent—hink studying it in schools is imperative, while 80 percent believed it is necessary to learn so history does not repeat itself. Many states already require school curriculums to cover the Holocaust, but task force leader Matthew Bronfman emphasized the need for state funding to ensure educators are equipped to teach the material effectively.
"The Holocaust is a broad topic. Specialized teacher training and thoughtfully developed curriculum are needed for students to benefit," he said.
You can find the full survey here.
What do you think of the survey's results? What should be done to ensure the events of the Holocaust are not distorted or forgotten? Share your thoughts in the comments.