One in 20 British adults do not believe the Holocaust happened, and 8% say that the scale of the genocide has been exaggerated, according to a poll marking Holocaust Memorial Day.
Almost half of those questioned said they did not know how many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and one in five grossly underestimated the number, saying that fewer than two million were killed. At least six million Jews died.
The poll, commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a charity established and funded by the UK government to promote and support the international day of remembrance, echoes the findings of a survey carried out in seven European countries in November.
That poll found that one in three people knew little or nothing about the Holocaust, and an average of 5% said they had never heard of it. In France, 20% of those aged 18-34 said they had never heard of the Holocaust; in Austria, the figure was 12%. A survey in the US last year found that 9% of millennials said they had not heard, or did not think they had heard, of the Holocaust. [Continue reading…]
As awareness of the Holocaust declines, we have witnessed, perhaps not coincidentally, a surge in anti-Semitic attacks. The FBI reported a 37% spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2017 compared to the previous year. In October, a gunman shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 worshipers in what was the deadliest attack against Jews in US history.
And in Europe, the very continent where six million Jews perished by Nazi genocide, it is alarming and appalling that anti-Semitism once again threatens Jewish communities.
An EU-commissioned poll in 2017 found that 28% percent of European Jews said they had been harassed that year.
Nearly 90% of European Jews, according to the same survey, believe anti-Semitism has worsened online in their respective countries over the last five years, and more than one in three are considering emigration.
In the face of growing anti-Semitism, there is a compelling need to teach the Holocaust in schools in the US and Europe. Holocaust education also serves a broader purpose, since it can provide a historical context to understand and prevent other atrocities. The Holocaust began with words, racial stereotyping and demonization — and that has also been the prelude to mass violence around the globe. [Continue reading…]