Nearly two-thirds of young American adults are unaware that six million Jews were killed during World War II and more than one in ten believe it was the Jews who caused the Holocaust. These are just some of the conclusions of a new study on the generation of “millennials” and “generation Z”, aged between 18 and 39 years old.
According to the study, cited by the newspaper “The Guardian”, almost half (48%) of the young adults surveyed did not know how to name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during World War II.
Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or was exaggerated, or were not sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard or thought they had not heard about the Holocaust.
Over half (56%) said they had seen Nazi symbols on social media and / or in their communities, and almost half (49%) had seen the denial of the existence of the Holocaust or distortion publications on social media or elsewhere online.
“The results are shocking and sad, and emphasize 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 (Claims Conference), which commissioned the research.
“We need to understand why we are not doing better at educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past. This has to serve as an alert for all of us and as a guide to where government officials need to act, “added Taylor.
The survey, the first to deepen at the state level in the USA, ranks states according to a scoring based on three criteria: if young people have definitely heard of the Holocaust; whether they can name a concentration camp, extermination camp or ghetto; and whether they know that six million Jews have been killed.
The state with the highest score was Wisconsin, where 42% of young adults from “millennials” and Generation Z met all three criteria, followed by Minnesota with 37% and Massachusetts with 35%. The lowest scoring states were Florida, with 20%, Mississippi, with 18%, and Arkansas, with 17%.
A Nacional level, 63% of respondents did not know that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and more than one in three (36%) thought two million or less had been killed.
Near 11% of respondents believe that Jews caused the Holocaust, with the percentage in New York state of 19%, followed by 16% in Louisiana, Tennessee and Montana, and 15% in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico.
A Nacional level, 44% of respondents managed to identify Auschwitz-Birkenau and Just 3% they knew Bergen-Belsen. Six out of 10 respondents in Texas were unable to name a single concentration camp or ghetto.
However, almost two thirds (64%) of North American young adults from “millennials” and Generation Z believe that education about the Holocaust should be mandatory in schools. Seven out of ten they said it was not acceptable for a person to have neo-Nazi ideals.
The Claims Conference, whose mission is “to provide a measure of justice for Jewish victims of the Holocaust”, created a group to oversee the research, which included Holocaust survivors, historians and experts from Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum United.
The data were collected from 1000 interviews across the country and 200 interviews in each state with young adults aged 18 to 39 years selected at random.