The conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany released survey findings that show one-third of Americans think “substantially less” than 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The survey, which highlights a lack of basic knowledge about the World War II genocide, showed a notable lack of understanding among Americans, especially millennials, the Claims Conference said.
The group said there are “critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge of the Holocaust” in America, stressing that U.S. schools need to provide better education on the genocide.
The survey showed that 70 percent of Americans believe people don’t care about the Holocaust as much as they used to. Fifty-eight percent said they believe an event like the holocaust could happen again.
Sixty-six percent of millennials didn’t know what Auschwitz was.
Nearly half of American participants, 45 percent, could not name even one concentration camp.
Thirty-one percent of survey participants did not believe 6 million Jews were killed and think the death toll was at least 2 million lower, 41 percent of participating millennials gave this response.
Fifteen percent thought people should be allowed to display Nazi slogans or symbols today and 11 percent said it’s acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views.
Before and during World War II Adolf Hitler’s Nazis killed approximately 6 million Jews. They also murdered millions of Eastern European civilians, prisoners of war, homosexuals, disabled people and political prisoners. Total death toll estimates reach 15 to 20 million people.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report in February that claims the number of hate groups in the U.S. has increase by 20 percent over the last three years. The center said the number of neo-Nazi groups increased from 99 in 2016 to 121 in 2017.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans stated in the survey that they believe anti-Semitism is present in the U.S. today and 51 percent think there is either a great deal of many neo-Nazis in the country today.
Ninety-three percent of participants thought the Holocaust should be taught in schools and 96 percent believe it indeed happened.
“It is vital to open a dialogue on the state of Holocaust awareness so that the lessons learned inform the next generation,” Claims Conference President Julius Berman said. We are alarmed that today’s generation lacks some of the basic knowledge about these atrocities.”
“There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories,” Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference said. “We must be committed to ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust and the memory of those who suffered so greatly are remembered, told and taught by future generations.”
The Claims Conference said the results are based on a representative sample of 1,350 American adults interviewed by phone and online. The group said it selected participants randomly and that they reflected the demographics of the American adult population.