Poll: Two-Thirds of Millennials Don't Know What Auschwitz Was

The Auschwitz concentration camp on Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Oswiecim, Poland, on Jan 27, 2018. (Rex Features via AP Images)

As the world marked Yom HaShoah on Thursday, a new poll revealed that nearly half of millennials cannot name one concentration camp out of the more than 40,000 camps and ghettos used during the Holocaust.

The survey from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany polled adults in the United States ahead of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Seventy percent of those polled said they believe fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to, while 58 percent said that an atrocity like the Holocaust could happen again.

Thirty-one percent of all Americans polled and 41 percent of millennial-generation respondents believed that 2 million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust — substantially less than the 6 million Jews killed.

Even though knowledge of the Holocaust is lacking — just 20 percent had visited a Holocaust museum — 93 percent agreed students should learn about the Holocaust in school and 80 percent said it was important to continue Holocaust education to ensure history does not repeat itself.

Twenty-two percent of millennials said they hadn’t heard of the Holocaust or were not sure if they heard about it. Respondents in the poll who knew about the Holocaust pinpointed Germany as the location, but only 37 percent of all polled knew it also happened in Poland even though 3.5 million Polish Jews were murdered. Only a sliver knew the Holocaust also wiped out most of the Jewish population in the Baltic states.

Forty-one percent of all respondents couldn’t identify what Auschwitz was. That rose to a full two-thirds of respondents when just counting millennials.

Sixty-eight percent in the poll believe there is anti-Semitism in the United States today, while just over half believe there are many or a great deal of neo-Nazis in the U.S.

Eleven percent said it was acceptable for a person to hold neo-Nazi views and 15 percent said Americans should be allowed to use Nazi slogan and symbols.

“This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools,” Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said in a statement. “There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories. We must be committed to ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust and the memory of those who suffered so greatly are remembered, told and taught by future generations.”