Nearly two-thirds of young adults in the U.S. are unaware six million Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust, according to a newly published survey.
The study, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), also found more than one in 10 actually believe Jews are responsible for the horror, according to The Guardian.
In addition, a whopping 48% of millennials and Gen Z adults — ages 18 to 39 — could not name a single Nazi concentration camp or ghetto created during World War II.
Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, called the study’s revelations both “shocking and saddening.”
“They underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories,” he said. “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.”
The U.S. Holocaust Museum called the findings “disturbing” and “alarming.”
Perhaps the worst statistic in the entire study is this: A mind-boggling 23% of the survey’s respondents believed the Holocaust was a myth, had been exaggerated in some way, or weren’t sure what to think.
The Claims Conference study is the first to take a state-by-state look at young adults’ awareness about the Holocaust. The analysis used three metrics to measure how informed respondents were: whether young people have heard of the Holocaust; whether they can name a concentration camp, ghetto, or death camp; and whether they are aware a total of six million Jews were murdered by Nazis.
Nationally, 63% of respondents were unaware of the six million figure. Thirty-six percent thought two million or fewer Jewish people were murdered. Eleven percent across the U.S. said Jews caused the Holocaust.
The most well-informed citizens came from Wisconsin, where 42% of millennials and Gen Z adults met all three metrics. The three lowest-scoring states were Florida (20%), Mississippi (18%), and Arkansas (17%).
A surprising 64% of millennials and Gen Z adults, however, said they believe Holocaust education should be mandatory in public schools. Seven out of 10 respondents said it’s unacceptable for anyone to espouse neo-Nazi views.