Survey: Majority of young North Carolinians don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Results of a nationwide survey show a lack of basic Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Generation Z.

The survey completed by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany was touted as the first-ever 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge and revealed alarming statistics.

According to the survey, 63 percent of young Americans do not know that six million Jews were murdered and 36 percent thought that “two million or fewer Jews” were killed during the Holocaust. 

Millennials and Generation Z individuals are classified as people born between about 1981 and 2015.

In North Carolina, 57 percent of respondents said they were unaware of six million Jews being killed in the Holocaust, and 48 percent can’t name a concentration camp or ghetto.

The states with the lowest scores for the question of how many were murdered are Arkansas with 69 percent, followed by Delaware with 68 percent, Arizona with 67 percent, Mississippi and Tennessee with 66 percent, and Hawaii, Iowa, Vermont, and West Virginia with 65 percent.

Additionally, although there were more than 40,000 camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, 48 percent of national survey respondents cannot name a single one.

“The surprising state-by-state results highlight a worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge, a growing problem as fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors – eyewitnesses to a state-sponsored genocide – are alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust,” the findings of the survey said.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents also believe something like the Holocaust could happen again, a disturbing sign of the times.

Eleven percent of U.S. Millennial and Gen Z respondents believe Jews caused the Holocaust.

Thirty percent of respondents across all 50 states indicated that they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms or in their community. In North Carolina, 48 percent of respondents said they’ve seen such symbols. The state with the highest response was Nevada with 70 percent.

“The results are both shocking and saddening and they underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories,” said Gideon Taylor, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). “We need to understand why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past. This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act.”

However, 75 percent of respondents in North Carolina believe it is important to continue to teach about the Holocaust, in part so that it doesn’t happen again.

A similar study was done in 2018 by the same organization. In that survey, more than one-fifth of millennials in the U.S. — 22 percent — haven’t heard of, or aren’t sure if they’ve heard of, the Holocaust.

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