Rising Holocaust Denial and Distortion Among U.S. Millennials and Gen Z

A recent study has unveiled a disturbing level of ignorance among young adults in the United States about the Holocaust, the systematic genocide of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. The survey was conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and featured in The Guardian.

1,000 individuals aged between 18 and 39 across the country were questioned about their knowledge of this historical event and the results were unsettling. A significant majority, nearly two-thirds, were unaware that six million Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust. Over one-third estimated that the death toll was less than 2 million, a substantial underestimation.

Adding to the concern, almost half of the respondents from the millennial and Gen Z age groups failed to identify a single concentration camp or ghetto, symbols of the Nazi’s horrific acts. The survey further revealed that a significant number of young Americans have accepted dangerous narratives of Holocaust denial and distortion. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents either believed that the Holocaust has been exaggerated or weren’t sure if it even occurred. Alarmingly, one in eight respondents had never heard of the Holocaust.

In terms of exposure to Nazi symbolism, over half of the respondents reported seeing such symbols being promoted on social media platforms. In a troubling finding, 28 percent of those aged between 18 and 29 believed that “Jews have too much power in America,” as per the poll.

The survey also investigated state-level knowledge about the Holocaust, ranking states based on residents’ awareness of basic facts. Wisconsin emerged as the state with the highest Holocaust knowledge, while Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas were found to have the lowest awareness levels. In New York, nearly one in five respondents blamed Jews for the Holocaust. Similar disconcerting statistics were observed in other states including Louisiana, Tennessee, and Montana.

Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, described the survey results as “shocking and saddening.” He emphasized the urgency of spreading Holocaust awareness while survivors are still alive to share their experiences. Taylor called for this survey to serve as a wake-up call and a guide for government officials on necessary actions.

The survey pointed to educational institutions as a significant factor contributing to this lack of Holocaust education. It cited examples of recent testimonies from the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT which allegedly demonstrated a culture of promoting Marxist ideologies, including Holocaust denial.

The findings underscore the urgent need for revising educational strategies and curricula to ensure that future generations are accurately informed about historical events like the Holocaust. The hope is that such knowledge will help them understand the gravity of such atrocities and prevent them from being repeated.