May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

50-State Survey Of Holocaust Knowledge Reveals Disturbing Results

(Courtesy of Claims Conference) Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), has announced the release of the U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, the first-ever 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Gen Z. The surprising state-by-state results highlight a worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge, a growing problem as fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors are alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust.

Nationally, there is a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts; 63% of all national survey respondents do not know that 6 million Jews were murdered and 36% thought that “2 million or fewer Jews” were killed during the Holocaust. Additionally, although there were more than 40,000 camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, 48% of national survey respondents could not name a single one.

“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 Taylor. “This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act.”

In New Jersey, 54% of respondents said that they had seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online; 51% believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again; 13% think Jews caused the Holocaust; 34% could not identify that the Holocaust was associated with World War II; 64% believe there is anti-Semitism in the United States today; 18% believe it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views; 56% say they have seen Nazi symbols in their community and/or on social media platforms in the last five years; 64% reported having never visited a Holocaust museum in the United States; 61% believe Holocaust education should be compulsory in school and 76% say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust, in part, so that it does not happen again.

“We came to realize that, although a number of states already mandate Holocaust education, which is an excellent first step, for the mandates to have a significant effect in classrooms there must be state funding to support the mandates,” said Claims Conference Holocaust task force leader Matthew Bronfman. “The Holocaust is a broad topic. Specialized teacher training and a thoughtfully developed curriculum is needed for students to benefit.”

Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider said, “Not only was their overall lack of Holocaust knowledge troubling, but combined with the number of millennials and Gen Z who have seen Holocaust denial on social media, 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.”

The Claims Conference recently launched #NoDenyingIt, a digital campaign in which survivors, in personal and moving videos posted online, appeal directly to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and implore him to remove Holocaust denial from his platform. The survey findings underscore the urgent need to understand that Holocaust denial is hate speech and to remove any and all denial of this critical historic event.

The Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study was commissioned by the Claims Conference. Data was collected in the United States and analyzed by Schoen Cooperman Research, with a representative sample of 1,000 interviews nationwide and 200 interviews in each state with adults ages 18 to 39 via landline, cell phone and online interviews. Respondents were selected at random and constituted a demographically representative sample of the population across each state.

For more information, please visit www.claimscon.org.

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