Can You Name a Holocaust Concentration Camp? 45% of Americans Can’t

"This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools."

Youth hold Israeli flags during the 'March of the Living', a yearly Holocaust remembrance march between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, on April 12, 2018 in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Poland.

By Liberty McArtor Published on April 12, 2018

How much do Americans know about the Holocaust? Not much, according to a new study released Thursday.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany released a study. It reveals “significant gaps in knowledge” about the Holocaust among American adults. 

“We are alarmed that today’s generation lacks some of the basic knowledge about these atrocities,” Conference president Julius Berman said. But the survey results weren’t all bad. They revealed that most Americans desire better education about the Holocaust. 

66 Percent of Millennials Don’t Know Auschwitz 

Perhaps most troubling of the statistics, 11 percent of U.S. adults have not heard of the Holocaust, or are not sure they have. Among millennials, that number jumps to 22 percent.

Nearly half — 45 percent — of American adults can’t name a single Holocaust concentration camp or ghetto. Among millennials, 49 percent can’t name one. And as for the most infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz? Forty-one percent of adults and 66 percent of millennials couldn’t say what it was. More people died there than at any other Holocaust concentration camp.

Fuzzy on the Facts

The survey revealed ignorance regarding important Holocaust facts. For instance, how many Jews were killed, and where. Nearly a third of American adults and 41 percent of millennials were unaware that six million Jews died in the Holocaust. They thought the number was two million or fewer. 

Many Americans were also unaware that over half of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were killed in Poland.

Nearly half — 45 percent — of American adults can’t name a single Holocaust concentration camp or ghetto. Among millennials, 49 percent can’t name one.

Eighty percent of Americans have not visited a Holocaust museum. Sixty-six percent do not know or know of a Holocaust survivor.

Fifteen percent of respondents said people should be allowed to use Nazi symbols and slogans. Eleven percent believe it is okay to hold Neo-Nazi views.

Desire For Better Education

A majority of respondents believe “fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to.” Over half “believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.” 

But respondents overwhelmingly said they want to see an improvement in Holocaust education. Ninety-three percent said all students should learn about the Holocaust in school. Over half believe Holocaust history curriculum could be better. 

Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference, said “this study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools.”

“There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us,” he continued. “Imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories.”

There are approximately 400,000 Holocaust survivors left in the world.

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  • Ken Abbott

    Last summer we were briefly on the site of Buchenwald and saw the memorial cenotaph that stands near the entrance. Many years ago, my wife and I had the sobering privilege of visiting Yad Vashem in Israel. Relatives have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. These experiences are profound. Anyone who has the opportunity to go to these sites should.

  • Ray

    There was a time when I read books on the Holocaust, and though it was so dark and horrible, I found it drawing me in. Sometimes it’s important to know about how horrible life in a fallen world can get, and how horrible worldly government gone wrong can go. It’s worth remembering.

  • Cauchy

    Hm, ask people about Mao Zedong (By the way, he killed more people than Hitler).

    • Andrew Mason

      As did Stalin. Since the Left tend to control education perhaps we should ask why they don’t want students to learn about genocidal regimes and the like?

  • Kari Hale Davidson

    So sad.

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