OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The murder of six million Jewish people during the Holocaust is one of history’s most tragic episodes, but a national survey shows that most Oklahomans under the age of 40 are not aware that so many Jews were killed.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) released a comprehensive study last week on Millenial and Generation Z knowledge of the Holocaust.
U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey is a 50-state survey that takes a deep look at how aware young adults are of various aspects of the Holocaust.
The results were discouraging.
“The surprising state-by-state results highlight a worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge, a growing problem as fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors – eyewitnesses to a state-sponsored genocide – are alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust,” a Claims Conference article on the survey’s results states.
Sixty-three percent of adults under 40 surveyed throughout the nation do not know that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and 36 percent thought that only “two million or fewer Jews” were killed, according to the Claims Conference.
Identical to the across the board U.S. percentage, 63 percent of Oklahoma adults under 40 did not know that the Holocaust caused the death of six million Jews.
A high number of young adults in neighboring states also did not know how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Did not know six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust
United States – 63%
Oklahoma – 63%
Texas – 63%
Arkansas – 69% (highest in the nation)
Kansas – 59%
Here are more statistics on young adult Holocaust awareness across the United States, in Oklahoma and in neighboring states:
Believe two million or fewer Jews killed during the Holocaust
United States – 36%
Oklahoma – 25%
Texas – 32%
Arkansas – 37%
Kansas – 22%
Can’t name a concentration camp or ghetto
United States – 48%
Oklahoma – 51%
Texas – 55%
Arkansas – 56%
Kansas – 37%
Believe Jews caused the Holocaust
United States – 11%
Oklahoma – 13%
Texas – 13%
Arkansas – 12%
Kansas – 10%
Did not know what Auschwitz was
United States – 56%
Oklahoma – 35%
Texas – 47%
Arkansas – 44%
Kansas – 28%
Have seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online
United States – 49%
Oklahoma – 49%
Texas – 58%
Arkansas – 45%
Kansas – 49%
Have seen Nazi symbols in their community and/or on social media they have visited in the past five years
United States – 30%
Oklahoma – 59%
Texas – 64%
Arkansas – 58%
Kansas – 53%
Believe it is important to continue teaching about the Holocaust, in part so that it doesn’t happen again
United States – 80%
Oklahoma – 76%
Texas – 80%
Arkansas – 86%
Kansas – 81%
The overall lack of Holocaust knowledge among young adults is highly concerning, said Greg Schneider, Claims Conference Executive Vice President.
“Not only was their overall lack of Holocaust knowledge troubling, but combined with the number of Millennials and Gen Z who have seen Holocaust denial on social media, it is clear that we must fight this distortion of history and do all we can to ensure that the social media giants stop allowing this harmful content on their platforms. Survivors lost their families, friends, homes and communities; we cannot deny their history,” Schneider said.
Claims Conference Holocaust task force leader Matthew Bronfman stressed the importance of specialized Holocaust education in schools.
“We came to realize that, although a number of states already mandate Holocaust education which is an excellent first step,” Bronfman said. “For the mandates to have a significant effect in classrooms there must be state funding to support the mandates. The Holocaust is a broad topic. Specialized teacher training and thoughtfully developed curriculum are needed for students to benefit.”
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