- New survey examines Holocaust knowledge among Americans ages 18 to 39
- It found that 63% did not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust
- A third thought that ‘two million or fewer Jews’ were killed during the Holocaust
- One in 10 people surveyed said they believe Jewish people caused the Holocaust
- The survey was run by Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
- Group is pressuring Mark Zuckerberg to ban Holocaust denial from Facebook
A new survey has found that two-thirds of American Millennials and members of Gen Z do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
The survey of adults ages 18 to 39 was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, examining knowledge about the Holocaust among young Americans.
The survey included 1,000 interviews nationwide and 200 in each state, and the Claims Conference says the findings bolster the urgency of the group’s campaign to get Facebook to ban Holocaust denial from the platform.
‘The survey findings underscore the importance [and] the urgent need to understand the Holocaust denial is hate speech and to remove denial of this critical historic event,’ the group said in a statement.
A heat map shows for each state, the percentage of respondents who did not reply ‘six million’ when asked how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust
Nationally, the survey found that 63 percent of all respondents did not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and 36 percent thought that ‘two million or fewer Jews’ died.
The states where the highest share of young people did not know that six million Jews were killed were Arkansas with 69 percent, followed by Delaware with 68 percent, Arizona with 67 percent, Mississippi and Tennessee with 66 percent, and Hawaii, Iowa, Vermont, and West Virginia with 65 percent.
‘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, the president of the Claims Conference.
‘We need to understand why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past. This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act,’ Taylor said.
Records show that around 17 million people, including six million Jews, were murdered by Nazis as part of a state-sponsored genocide in the 1940s.
Tables show responses by the state on survey questions about the Holocaust. New York had the highest rate of respondents who believe Jewish people caused the Holocaust
Women at the train station ramp of Auschwitz concentration camp – around 1944
The study reveals that Wisconsin scores highest in Holocaust awareness, while Arkansas scored the lowest, as measured by a series of questions about the Holocaust.
Shockingly, 11 percent of U.S. Millennial and Gen Z respondents believed Jews caused the Holocaust.
In New York, which has the highest Jewish population of any U.S. state, an astounding 19 percent replied that they believed Jews caused the Holocaust.
Nationally, 48 percent of respondents could not name a single one of the more than 40,000 concentration camps or ghettos established during World War II.
As well, 56 percent of national U.S. Millennial and Gen Z respondents were unable to identify Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Prisoners of Auschwitz are seen looking through barbed wire after liberation in 1944
According to the survey, 49 percent of young Americans have seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.
Nationally, 30 percent of respondents indicated that they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms or in their community. The state with the highest response was Nevada with 70 percent.
The Claims Conference, which commissioned the survey, is currently conducting a campaign to pressure Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove content from the platform that denies or distorts the Holocaust.
Survivors from around the globe, including Anne Frank’s stepsister, have recorded 30-second messages that are then posted on social media, including Instagram and Twitter, with the hashtag #NoDenyingIt.
‘I lost all my family. Many, many family members. There is no denying it! Remove Holocaust denial from Facebook,’ Eva Schloss, Frank’s stepsister, says in her video.
People who say the Holocaust did not happen are calling me a liar. My fellow survivors and I are not liars. We are witnesses,’ said Sidney Zoltak, who also was among the survivors featured in the footage.
Similar videos will be posted daily urging Zuckerberg to remove Holocaust-denying groups, pages and posts as hate speech. Videos will also be posted on Facebook-owned Instagram, as well as Twitter.
Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, sparked controversy in 2018 when he argued that Facebook should not filter out posts denying that the Nazis killed six million Jews.
In an interview with tech website Recode he said that while Facebook was dedicated to stopping the spread of fake news, it would not filter out posts just on the basis of being factually wrong.
He said that while he found Holocaust denial ‘deeply offensive,’ he said he didn’t think deniers were ‘intentionally getting it wrong.’
The non-profit Claims Conference works to seek compensation from the German government and the return of Jewish property stolen by the Nazis.