A staggering 35% of adults 18 to 39 wrongly believe the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated, or say they don’t think they’ve even heard about it, according to a new study. The level of ignorance is being called “shocking and saddening.”
More than one in 10 (11%) falsely believe the Jews caused the Holocaust, and almost two thirds do not know that 6 million jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust,” The Guardian reports.
The prevalence of Nazi symbols and Holocaust denialism is quite strong.
“More than half (56%) said they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms and/or in their communities, and almost half (49%) had seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.”
The study was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which says it is “the first-ever 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Gen Z.”
In New York “an astounding 19 percent of respondents felt Jews caused the Holocaust; followed by 16 percent in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Montana and 15 percent in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico.”
The organization says the “surprising state-by-state results highlight a worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge, a growing problem as fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors – eyewitnesses to a state-sponsored genocide – are alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust.”
Wisconsin was rated the highest in Holocaust awareness among the 18 to 39 year-olds, and Arkansas the lowest.
“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,” Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference says. “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.”
The group says 11,000 people across all 50 states were surveyed.