Holocaust remembrance groups raised concerns over the “disturbing” results of a survey released Wednesday that showed a lack of understanding of the atrocity among Americans younger than 40.
Commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, the survey found roughly one in 10 adults under the age of 39 are unfamiliar with the Holocaust.
The first question posed to each of the 11,000 people surveyed was: “Have you ever seen or heard the word Holocaust before?” Twelve percent said they likely or definitely never heard of it.
Yet while the majority of respondents indicated they were at least somewhat familiar with the Holocaust, further polling of that sample identified further misconceptions and misunderstandings.
Among the thousands of people who said they heard of the Holocaust, 11% said they believed it was caused by Jews, according to the “U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey.”
Nazis led by Adolf Hitler murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which said the survey shows “a disturbing lack of Holocaust knowledge.”
More than one-third of all people surveyed by Claims Conference — 36% — thought only two million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust, per the latest Claims Conference poll,
Asked elsewhere in the survey if they believe the Holocaust happened, 3% of respondents said they do not think it unfolded and 7% answered they are unsure.
“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, 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.”
Claims Conference said it conducted the interviews — 1,000 nationwide and 200 in each state — between Feb. 26 and March 28 and that the polling has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
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