Survey finds 'shocking' lack of Holocaust knowledge in people under 40

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed did not know 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Over half of those thought the toll was under 2 million.

9/16/2020 5:58:00 PM

Nationwide survey shows 'shocking' lack of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Gen Z, 1 in 10 respondents could not recall ever having heard the word 'Holocaust' before.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed did not know 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Over half of those thought the toll was under 2 million.

"We take down any post that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust," a Facebook spokesperson said in an email."The same goes for any content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying about the atrocities, spews hate, or advocates for violence against Jewish people in any way."

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In countries where Holocaust denial is illegal, such as Germany, France and Poland, Facebook takes steps to restrict access in accordance with the law, the spokesperson said."We know many people strongly disagree with our position — and we respect that," the spokesperson said."It's really important for us to engage on these issues and hear from people to understand their concerns. We have a team that is dedicated to developing and reviewing our policies and we welcome collaboration with industry, experts and other groups to ensure we're getting it right."

Portraits of Holocaust survivors at the Museum of Jewish Heritage as a vintage German train car, like those used to transport people to Auschwitz and other death camps, is uncovered on tracks outside the museum in New York on March 31, 2019.Richard Drew / AP

The social media debate is part of a larger reckoning over the Holocaust's place in American memory. With fewer living Holocaust survivors who can serve as eyewitnesses to the genocide and with anew wave of anti-Semitismin the U.S. and Europe, some worry that the seven-decade rallying cry"never forget" is being forgotten. Disturbingly, the majority of adults in the poll believed that something like the Holocaust could happen again, the survey found.

"When you learn the history of the Holocaust, you are not simply learning about the past," Lipstadt said."These lessons remain relevant today in order to understand not only anti-Semitism, but also all the other 'isms' of society. There is real danger to letting them fade."

While most respondents first learned about the Holocaust in school, the survey's findings suggest that education may be incomplete. The Holocaust is associated with World War II, but 22 percent of respondents thought it was associated with World War I. Ten percent were not sure, 5 percent said the Civil War, and 3 percent said the Vietnam War.

Certain states mandate Holocaust education in school, and the majority of survey participants said the subject should be compulsory. But there was not a direct correlation between states that mandate Holocaust education and positive survey results, Schneider said.

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Respondents in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts ranked highest in Holocaust knowledge, even though those states do not require Holocaust education,according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Respondents in New York, Indiana and California — which do require Holocaust education — were most likely to believe the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated, at rates higher than 20 percent of the surveyed population.

"Holocaust education is extremely local," Schneider said."Teachers are the heroes in this story, particularly this year, where the challenges are beyond imaginable. In general, teachers can be overwhelmed in classrooms with the content and the lack of time and resources. Really, what we're trying to do is make sure proper training and resources and support is available to teachers across the country."

Eyewitness testimony is the most powerful tool available to educators, said Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives at the Holocaust Memorial Museum."There is nothing that can replace the stories of survivors in Holocaust education," Skidmore said."It is very meaningful when you see a student listening to a survivor, hearing how individuals responded to this watershed event in human history and thinking not only what would I have done but what will I do with the choices I face today."

Aug. 10, 202004:31Still, educators are preparing for the day when there are no more living Holocaust survivors to join the classroom, including efforts to digitize their stories."The fact that that recorded testimony exists and is being collected and maintained is a really useful tool now, and it will continue to be a useful tool in the future," said Ariel Behrman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League's Echoes & Reflections program, a Holocaust education program in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California and Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

The Echoes & Reflections program has reached over 14,250 schools and 72,000 teachers at no cost to educators, according to its website."The interest is there, without a doubt," Behrman said."Teachers really do seek us out. There are a lot of things students can learn from the past and from those who experienced the Holocaust. There are also contemporary connections to be made, and students can apply what they learned to their world today."

These days, Holocaust education is about teaching more than just facts, Behrman said. Last week, Echoes & Reflections releaseda national survey of 1,500 college students, which found that high school Holocaust education was associated with students' being more empathetic, tolerant and socially responsible. Students with Holocaust education reported themselves to be more likely to stand up to negative stereotyping, for example, and more willing to challenge incorrect or biased information.

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Learning about the Holocaust is valuable, adults overwhelmingly agreed in the survey. Eighty percent of the Claims Conference survey respondents agreed that it was important to learn about the Holocaust partly so it never happens again."We've seen it time and time again," Schneider said."Education is the best way to prevent ignorance and to prevent hate."

Read more: NBC News »

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Yet you media outlets such as yourself defend these uneducated rioters. This has nothing to do with teaching. 1 in 10 being idiots is actually quite low and I'm surprised. berrrly As the father of 6 school aged kids, I've taken the role of historian. I don't let an opprtunity to educate them on matters that our school system neglects to teach pass. Beginning with the lie of the 'discovery' of this country. School starts at home folks! ProfessorDaddy

Im bamboozled.. I know about how Hitler wanted to make germany, aryan german only, and that he basically wanted the genocide of the jewish population which killed basically 2/3rds of Europes Jewish population. Im not even in college! I pray we not end up stupid like these MAGA'ts Huh. It’s almost like the American education system is failing us... IDK.

Then our schools aren't doing their job. We should never forget. michele_norris In fairness, most adults don't know about the seven million non-Jews who were killed in German extermination camps, or that LGBT individuals remained in those camps until 1969. History is actually hard, and requires constant exploration and upkeep.

That’s horrible. Had they heard about World War I and II? It is quite possible if they were better informed none would vote for Trump. Shocking knowledge about any damn thing Perhaps there should be an X-Men character who experiences the Holocaust? Oh right. The people in that pic look hungry 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Why shocking ? We know what is being fed to our kids and what is being swept under the liberal rug. Just sit down and talk to your kid during school year, especially when they get HS and college. My sons 1rst year in college he started saying there is no such thing as communism.

Meh. Most Americans can’t name their state’s two senators. Most millennials and gen-z can’t name one. Most Americans who think they know about the holocaust have no idea that around 14 million in total were killed in death camps - 8 million (the majority) were not Jewish. The dumbing down of American children at certain schools has been happening for 20+ years. This is no surprise. teachyourchildrenwhatschoolswont

Why is that guy wearing sunglasses to the left of the picture. Don't respect those forgotten losers? Don't listen to anything they say? What would a millennial tattoo look like This is unbelievable and unconscionable. How can our students NOT be told of this? 1935 Doctors stated: “This is the battle against a veritable world sickness which threatens to infect the peoples, a plague that devastates whole international pestilence.” 1938 Jews compelled to wear badges, snitched on & sent to camps

President trump said you were fake news. Terrible we shocked by this? They don't teach it in school unless you take an actual class about it parents aren't talking to their kids about it Hence how the United States has a Hitler want to be in the White House We are in 1937 Germany right now and Americans refuse to acknowledge it

Welcome to the effects of Communist Core brought to you by teacher's unions and the Democrat Party. Growing up in the 70s, I learned from the 1979 'Holocaust' miniseries, plus I read 'Diary of Anne Frank' - and Melissa Gilbert did a TV film version. Someone mentioned 'Sound of Music'. FROM JANUARY 30, 2019: Holocaust: How a US TV series changed Germany

I don’t understand this either. This is taught in schools. I have a millennial and Gen z in the house. Both are aware. !!? But hey! They know lots about paper straws, the little darlings. Wasn't aware that the Jewish holocaust happened in 21st century USA. Asked a 12 year old kid yesterday if she knew about the Mayflower. Never heard of it.

Teach this to American children before indulging Trump's 'patriotic' bullshit Even MY GEN knows about Anne Franke! please don't fail the next gens. .-. EricaResists45 Sadly this history will be repeated again and again, and it will probably happen here in America because we don’t learn from history, we don’t even teach our children our true history, which includes the good with the bad...🥺🥺🥺

Did they find any other kind of knowledge? My is not RicardoWinters8 My 13 year old soon has read many books regarding the holocaust so I don't get how this is possible. Both Scholastic and Barnes and Noble carry age appropriate fiction and non fiction. Maybe this is a regional. ight, people just retarded if they don’t know about it

Lack of knowledge stemming from lack of having been taught. This sounds like a teaching moment for AOC. She has the platform and following to do it. What will NBC do to inform students? PATHETIC & FRIGHTENING ESPECIALLY HERE & NOW; AS, DIVISIVENESS & FASCISM ARE BEING CULTIVATED & FOSTERED BY TRUMP REGIME! MUST BE TAUGHT IN ORDER TO NEVER FORGET!

Maybe because the Holocaust wasn’t an ‘American’ event; There is also a gross lack of knowledge about slavery and many of the horrendous events that took place during and after its supposed abolition, instead kids get lied to about how honest George Washington wasn’t & other bs. It's critically important for Americans to know about the Holocaust. Especially now.

Holocaust was horrible and should not be ever forgotten. Similarly to what happens to Palestinians today is horrible. When are we going to teach the suffering and genocide against the Palestinians They also cant recall the events that happened in slavery either. No shocker here at all. That's because history is not being taught in school.

Really bothers me. This explains a lot. Now do a survey of their parents. We are failing our youth. I watched The Boy in Striped Pajamas with my kids. Also signed a permission slip for one of them to watch it in school. And they watched The Sound of Music at home. Schools and Parents need to teach this.

Which is why we're not far off from another version of that here in America if Trump wins again This is utterly sad😞 Too busy teaching critical race theory in schools to teach history. I don’t understand this. I graduated in ‘03. My education on the Holocaust started in 4th grade when our class read Number the Stars.

This is very sad. We cannot forget this history. Defund public schools In today’s world, you can go your whole life avoiding any unpleasant topic. Welcome to government run education those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it just the way democrat communist party wants it Oh don’t worry if Trump has his way they may just learn it firsthand.

Too busy being shoveled the BLM lie down their gullet along with LBTQ bullshit social hour. Yeah that's why your Left supporters hate Jews and condone fascism at every turn. Kids don't know sh** and you are using them for your own political goals. Worse than Hitler! Those are your teacher unions and tenured professors. They should be embarASSed. Should you be exposing your own side.....

You must be talking to the children in red states. The Holocaust is studied over and over in blue state schools. My children visited the museum on class trips to Washington. Well there is lack of knowledge about crime of slavery & slaves Among many people in the world & even more in America,& that was one of the biggest tragedy in the world for 400 years or more that still affecting black people lives & hurting them mentally & emotionally.

Showing again how dumb Americans are generally. Leader of free world? Leaders of the Flat World. The Holocaust needs to be taught in schools. Maybe not in Elementary/Middle, but this needs to be taught in High Schools/Colleges. I think that the reason there are Holocaust deniers and people who don't know that this horrific event happened is because no one teaches it.

Sad that so few know of the Holocaust. Then again, most Americans can't find the USA on a map, and 46% believe in angels This explains SO much. It’s so sad and out of touch. They should visit this museum and have their questions answered by victims themselves. Reprehensible! That's public education for you

Oh so maybe all the people calling everyone they disagree with a Nazi might have no clue what they are talking about 🤔 Is this supposed to be shocking? Do you think the rioters and supporters listen to WAP or read The Diary of Ann Frank? We have the best schools!! Also Shocking is a lack of knowledge of how many Black People were Raped, Murdered, and Forced to Work for Free for Money and Profits for Whites Only to build America.A lot more Black People People were Murdered than the 5 Million Jews.Why is this not in History Books in America?

The woke left socialist curriculum that has slowly erased history. So glad we made sure our kids learned about what’s been silenced in public schools. 😑🤦🏼‍♀️ SocialismKills Millennials don't even know what gender they are🤷🏻‍♂️ HudsonHMack Maybe schools should study ThePaperclipProject What about it is shocking? Have you talked to any of these people?!?

In Europe every school has it in history class. We have to know what has happened to innocent people. Our school system here is very poor, unfortunately! Disturbing. We must learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. Do the Jews know what Isreal are doing now to their neighbours in Palestine? how many millions in Palestine has to die for Isreal to feel better about themselves?

Unbelievable, what is going on in history classes? Did they stop teaching world history? Probably college grads. They certainly know about the 145 genders. Thanks to Marxist teachers unions. Watch why we Fight A Frank Capra film,It Shows the Destruction of Poland That is because US History is not taught in elementary, middle school or high school. It is only taught in college. We need to teach our children. Our US history, not this colonial times and Europe. This is a big failure by the U S schools.

This is disgraceful and a true reflection on our educational system as it pertains to history. 'Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' - George Santayana. Now more than ever. How is this shocking? Nearly half of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Our educational system has been intentionally dismantled to make people dumber and, therefore, more gullible. Morons make great voters. See trumpcult

Because The Ancient History Thread In The Public School Curriculum Was Switched From Judeo-Christian To Islamic...circa 2000? Thats what happens when Texas decides what goes into or left out of the history books. Indoctrination Just sad .... NEARLY 50 YRS AGO IN A TX H.S., HAD I NOT HAD A HISTORY TEACHER WHO IGNORED STD 'TEXAS AMERICAN HISTORY TEXTBOOK' MY CLASS WOULDN'T HAVE LEARNEOD ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, SLAVERY OR OUR MEXICAN HISTORY IN TEXAS & US !!! IT CONTINUES BUT FOR SPECIAL TEACHERS!

Great job Teachers’ unions. Bravo. DefundUnions It’s not about teachers fault,TVs fault,internet’s fault,it’s our fault to not to teach them,how can you deny 23 percent of the generation we have raised don’t believe the most horrific war crime in the History One of the Nuremberg prosecutors lived near my home town, LaMarque TX. My high school brought him in to give a presentation to a school assembly. It was the first I heard in any detail of the Holocaust. I will never forget.

Cause the education is not teaching them....they dont want them to know Just sit them down, and let them watch Schindler's List. I think it is incredibly sad that this is not taught in schools. Families who lost loved ones or lived through the torture and loss, who are alive to share their stories, should absolutely be part of creating an educational curriculum to teach in our schools. HolocaustEducation

Noone cares boomer Weird. Aren't they the ones going around calling everyone Nazis? History is unforgiving. It makes you forget past so that you repeat it. No worries. Trump is slowly giving us a real life experience of it. Caging children, brainwashing people and forced hysterectomies on detainees is just the beginning.

Now it makes sense why they call everyone Nazi! The education in this country failed our students! I never knew about it until the 7th grade when we read the diary of ann frank and then we learned about this atrocity. First time I remember learning about how f’ed up the world is. Our kids have no idea about the holocaust, yet watch drag queen story hour. Great job, teachers union

I’m shocked that you’re shocked NBC. America’s Greatest Generation lived it. Both my grandfathers, as Jewish Americans, fought the Nazis and Mussolini in the European Theatre. How about knowledge of slavery? Lynchings? Black Codes? Jim Crow? Reconstruction? Those happened right here in America, you know.

That explains why they so casually call everyone a Nazi they don’t agree with. Liberal public schools failing our future. This is why kids find communism and and totalitarian government so attractive Democrats are erasing history, do you expect anything different? And that folks is how we get demagogues like Trump in office again. Not sure what's up with the idiot boomers that voted him into office in 2016, but then again they live in a fictionalized Mayberry America.

Why have they not been taught this Shocking and shameful. Because history classes in public schools were turned into social justice classes over the past 15 years. Good education system you have there. And you wonder why trump has a chance to win? Stupid people That’s because our education system has been overrun with liberal lunatics that don’t teach real history.

What happens when you invest more on the military than all other nations combined. This is awful. This is how history repeats itself. We need to stop censoring our history. Stop it! Following AuschwitzMuseum should be mandatory. Remembering specific people every single day anblanx That means the next holocaust will occur organically, no silly copy catting Germans, no ovens, it'll be much more hi-tech; microwaves maybe. And no press. That's what ruined it for the Nazis.😨

Maybe they don't teach history in schools anymore. But... they don't watch TV? They don't watch movies? Tintie4 There is something seriously wrong with education and has been for the last 30 yrs on. I would guess our numbers are lower but still would shock most of us. Time to revamp education. Big time.

cc: SophRossss This is horrifying. a good way to have learned about the holocaust was the 1970s documentaries on pbs. to many people watch junk tv now. Lack of education in this country Make them watch The Devil's Arithmetic, my daughter showed me this movie when she was 14. She is now 21, she is very aware.

These must be homeschoolers. My kids studied it several times in public schools. How can this be? Without basic education we're doomed in too many ways to list.... My Gen Z daughter just informed me, she’s learned more about the Holocaust from watching documentaries at home than she’s ever learned in school. It’s a negligent shame.😕

🤔 you mean shocking lack of education, 5 in 10 don’t even know the civil war happened I bet It's not that they aren't taught it's that they don't learn. History is just boring to so many people. Who has time to learn about the Holocaust when Cardi B file for divorce yesterday You know what they say. Those who don't know there past are doomed to repeat it.

Thank you American teachers and school administrators, way to go. Brad pitt and tom hanks need to double down and make 500 holocaust movies a year instead of only 400 THAT’S FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE TO THE POINT OF BEING CRIMINAL ALMOST! 🤬🤬🤬🤬 Sadly, history has a way of repeating itself. Must not be many holocaust questions on state standardized tests bc trust me if there were that’s all those kids would hear about, they’d be taking holocaust quizzes weekly and doing holocaust benchmark tests every 6 weeks

10 out of 10 of that 1 out of 10 are messing w the pollster.

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