By Lisa Cannon Green
If you ask a millennial about Auschwitz, don’t be surprised if you get a blank stare.
Two-thirds of millennials can’t identify the Nazi concentration camp where more than a million people died during World War II, a new study finds.
The study, released on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 12, raises troubling questions about whether the Holocaust is disappearing from Americans’ collective memory.
In a survey of 1,350 American adults, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found:
- 22 percent of millennials haven’t heard of the Holocaust or aren’t sure if they have heard of it.
- 49 percent can’t name a concentration camp or ghetto.
- 66 percent can’t identify Auschwitz, the largest camp.
“We are alarmed that today’s generation lacks some of the basic knowledge about these atrocities,” said Claims Conference President Julius Berman.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust by the Nazi regime, which believed Jews were inferior and a threat to German society.
Many Americans believe the death toll was much smaller, the survey found. Four in 10 millennials (41 percent) and almost a third of all U.S. adults (31 percent) say they believe the Holocaust killed 2 million or fewer Jews.
Eighty percent of U.S. adults have not visited a Holocaust museum, the survey found, and two-thirds (66 percent) do not know or know of a Holocaust survivor.
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LISA CANNON GREEN (@lisacgreen) is senior editor of Facts & Trends.