FIRST-EVER 50-STATE SURVEY ON HOLOCAUST KNOWLEDGE OF AMERICAN MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z REVEALS SHOCKING RESULTS
Disturbing Findings Reveal Significant Number Of Millennials And Gen Z Can’t Name A Single Concentration Camp Or Ghetto, Believe That Two Million Or Fewer Jews Were Killed And A Concerning Percentage Believe That Jews Caused The Holocaust
Survey in Hawaii Finds: 55% Believe Something Like the Holocaust Could Happen Again; 65% Cannot Identify How Many Jews Were Killed During the Holocaust; 55% Cannot Name a Concentration Camp, Death Camp, or Ghetto
News Release from Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: September 16, 2020 – Gideon Taylor, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), today 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 – eyewitnesses to a state-sponsored genocide – are alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust.
Nationally, there is a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts; 63 percent of all national survey respondents do not know that six million Jews were murdered and 36 percent thought that “two 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 percent of national survey respondents cannot name a single one.
The state-by-state analysis yielded a particularly disquieting finding that nearly 20 percent of Millennials and Gen Z in New York feel the Jews caused the Holocaust.
“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. “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 study reveals that Wisconsin scores highest in Holocaust awareness among U.S. Millennials and Gen Z. Arkansas has the lowest Holocaust knowledge score1, with less than 2-in-10 (17 percent) of Millennials and Gen Z meeting the Holocaust knowledge criteria.
In what might be considered a disturbing sign of the times, 59 percent of respondents indicate that they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
The states with the highest Holocaust Knowledge Scores are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, and Montana.
The states with the lowest Holocaust Knowledge Scores are: Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
For a state-by-state heatmap and all results please click here.
In Hawaii, several specific survey findings are particularly stunning. For instance, while there were more than 40,000 camps and ghettos during World War II, 55 percent of the respondents in Hawaii cannot name a single one. Additionally, 65 percent of respondents in Hawaii do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
Other outcomes in Hawaii include:
• When asked if they have seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online, 38 percent of respondents in Hawaii say they have.
• 55 percent of respondents in Hawaii believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again.
• 11 percent of respondents in Hawaii think the Jews caused the Holocaust.
• 39 percent of respondents cannot identify that the Holocaust was associated with World War II.
• 19 percent of respondents in Hawaii believe the Holocaust happened but the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated, is a myth and did not happen, or are unsure.
• 57 percent of respondents in Hawaii believe there is antisemitism in the United States today; and, 50 percent say they have seen Nazi symbols in their community and/or on social media platforms in the last five years.
• 70 percent of respondents in Hawaii report having never visited a Holocaust museum in the United States.
• 63 percent of respondents in Hawaii believe Holocaust education should be compulsory in school, and 87 percent say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust, in part, so that it does not happen again.
For more National Survey results and all state results, click here.
“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 of the survey, “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 – imploring him to remove Holocaust denial from his platform. The survey findings underscore the importance the urgent need to understand that Holocaust denial is hate speech and to remove denial of this critical historic event.
PDF: Survey Baselines
1) We calculated our Holocaust “knowledge score” by using the percentage of Millennials and Gen Z adults who met all three of the following criteria: 1) have “Definitively heard about the Holocaust,” AND 2) can name at least one concentration camp, death camp, or ghetto, AND 3) know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.