A new state-by-state survey of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 39 has revealed significant shortcomings in young Americans’ knowledge of the Holocaust. Specifically, the “U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study” revealed that 11 percent of the Gen Z and millennial respondents believe that Jewish people caused the Holocaust. And in New York, nearly 20 percent of respondents believe that Jews are responsible for the Holocaust. Notably, about 10 percent of New York City residents identify as Jewish — making it the second largest Jewish community in the world.
When asked to name one of the 40,000 concentration camps or ghettos, 48 percent of the respondents could not name one. Fifty-six percent of the young Americans surveyed were unable to name Auschwitz. Respondents also underestimated the number of Jewish people killed during the Holocaust: 63 percent of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were killed, and 36 percent thought that “two million or fewer Jews” were murdered.
However, overall respondents conveyed a desire for compulsory education of this horrific time in history, with 64 percent of American millennials and Gen Zers expressing that Holocaust education should be compulsory in school. Nearly 60 percent of the 1,000 young people interviewed said they believed something like the Holocaust could happen today.
The “Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study” was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). The study’s task force included historians, Holocaust survivors, and nonprofits such as Yad Vashem, George Washington University, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Schoen Cooperman Research, who collected the data, conducted “1,000 interviews nationwide and 200 interviews in each state with adults ages 18 to 39 via landline, cell phone and online interviews. Respondents were selected at random and constituted a demographically representative sample of the Millennial population across each state.”
A state-by-state summary of the data is available here.