58% of Americans Believe the Holocaust Could Happen Again

The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, which lies in southern Poland, was the biggest death camp set up by Nazi Germans during World War II to eliminate European Jews.

The survey, which was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (also known as the Claims Conference), found that many Americans were unaware of basic facts about the Holocaust.

Though 96% of respondents said the Holocaust took place, 31% believe a maximum of 2 million Jews were killed, well under the actual figure of about 6 million, reports the New York Times.

Still, 58 percent of respondents believe that "something like the Holocaust could happen again".

A study released on Thursday found critical gaps in knowledge of basic facts about the Holocaust among the U.S. public, especially among young adults. Among millennials, that number rose to 66 percent.

A third of the world's Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

According to the organization's survey, almost one-third of all Americans (31%) and more than 4-in-10 Millennials (41%) believe that two million or fewer Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

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It found that there were significant age gaps in knowledge about the Holocaust, with 22 percent of millennials saying they haven't heard or were not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust, compared to 11 percent for all USA adults. Over one million Jews were killed or died at the camp in addition to tens of thousands from other minority groups, including Polish citizens, Roma, Soviet prisoners, homosexuals and the disabled.

Nearly half (45 percent) of Americans were unable to name a single concentration camp, and the number was even worse for millennials (49 percent).

Further, large numbers of respondents believe that there is anti-Semitism in the US today (68 percent) and that there are many neo-Nazis in the USA (34 percent).

Claims Conference President Julius Berman expressed concern about the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among millennials. Only 37 percent of people were able to identify Poland as a country where the Holocaust occurred, even though at least 3 million Jewish citizens of Poland were murdered during WWII.

The survey was conducted by Schoen Consulting between February 23-27 with a randomly selected demographically representative sample of 1,350 Americans.

"Imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories", he says, stressing the importance of Holocaust education. We have a responsibility to convey the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations, and together as Americans, we have a moral obligation to combat antisemitism, confront hate, and prevent genocide. Respondents were selected randomly and reflected the demographics of the American adult population, it said.

  • Megan Austin