Holocaust knowledge survey among America's youths shows 'shocking' results

According to the survey, nationally, there is a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts about the Holocaust.


A "shocking" percentage of the nation's youths lack a basic understanding of Holocaust knowledge, according to a new survey.

The U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, the first 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Gen Zers, was released Wednesday. It shows a growing problem among the nation's youths as fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors are alive to share the lessons of that terrible time.

"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.

The Claims Conference, also known as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, commissioned the study.

The organization's goal is to provide a measure of justice for Jewish Holocaust victims, according to its website. It has helped negotiate more than $70 billion in restitution from the German government paid to Holocaust survivors.

"We need to understand why we aren't doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past," Taylor said. "This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act."

According to the survey, nationally, there is a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts about the Holocaust.

Sixty-three percent of all the survey's respondents did not know that six million Jews were murdered during the atrocity and 36% 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 genocide, 48% of respondents could not name a single one.

    The survey broke down the state-by-state analysis.

    It found that millennials and Gen Zers in Wisconsin knew the most about the Holocaust while the same age group in Arkansas had the lowest Holocaust knowledge score.

    For a state-by-state breakdown, click here

    While the American numbers are surprising, it seems that in Europe, knowledge about the Holocaust is also fading.

    In 2018, CNN polling revealed that the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade in Europe, with a third of those polled saying they knew just a little or nothing at all about it.

    Offensive and racist content continues to plague many social media platforms, with some governments upping the pressure on companies to take action.

    In May, the French parliament passed a controversial hate speech law that would fine social media companies if they failed to remove certain illegal content within 24 hours, with fines of up to €1.25 million ($1.36 million).

    CNN contributed to this report.