Shocking Number Of Millennials Ignorant Of Holocaust, Poll Finds

Published April 12, 2018

Of 1,350 American adults interviewed, 70 percent say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to.

Jewish Children In Camp

Alexander Vorontsov/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty ImagesA group of child survivors stand behind a barbed wire fence at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on the day of the camp’s liberation. January 27, 1945.

A majority of people polled in a comprehensive national study believe something like the Holocaust could happen again. Meanwhile, of the 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos that existed, nearly half (45 percent) of the study’s participants couldn’t name one.

The Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study published by the Claims Conference found a significant lack of knowledge about the holocaust in the United States. The survey, which interviewed 1,350 adults (age 18 and over), found critical gaps in both awareness of basic facts and detailed knowledge of the Holocaust.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. But the poll found that at 31 percent, nearly a third of Americans believed the number to be two million or less. Additionally, 41 percent of Americans polled didn’t know what Auschwitz was.

The lack of knowledge was more pronounced among millennials (ages 18 to 34). Forty-one percent of millennials wrongly believed that two million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust, while 66 percent couldn’t say what Auschwitz was. Even more revealing, 22 percent of millennials hadn’t heard of or weren’t sure if they’d heard of the Holocaust. That’s compared to the 11 percent of all Americans who gave the same response.

“This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools,” said Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference.

Important world events can have a tendency to lose significance as they move further back in history, a concept that was represented in the survey. Seven out of ten Americans believe that fewer people care about the Holocaust than they used to. This can be tied to a lack of personal connection as 80 percent of those polled hadn’t visited a Holocaust museum and two-thirds didn’t know or know of a survivor.

“Imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories. 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,” said Schneider.

Despite the lack of knowledge, a vast majority of people believe that Holocaust education is essential, with 93 percent believing that all students should learn about the Holocaust in school. Eighty percent believed that it’s important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so that an atrocity like that doesn’t happen again.


Next read about horrors of Auschwitz that were revealed in a prisoner’s buried letter. Then read about how Stanislawa Leszcynska delivered 3,000 babies during the Holocaust.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.
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