On November 1, 2005, the UN General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (“IHRD”). January 27 marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. IHRD serves two purposes: (1) to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism, and (2) to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides. The theme of 2023 is “Home and Belonging.” It reflects on what these concepts meant to persecuted individuals during the Holocaust and in its aftermath. More information on this year’s theme is available here: https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/01/1132862
Although most American adults have a general idea of what the Holocaust was and when it happened, only 43% know that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany through a democratic political process, and only 45% know that approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Shockingly, the U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey (“2020 Survey”) released in 2020 revealed that 11 percent of Millennials and Gen Z feel the Jews caused the Holocaust. Wisconsin scored the highest in Holocaust awareness among U.S. Millennials and Gen Z in the 202 Survey, while Arkansas scored the lowest, with less than 2-in-10 Millennials and Gen Z meeting the Holocaust knowledge criteria. Florida was one of the lowest scoring states. The Holocaust “knowledge score” was calculated by using the percentage of Millennials and Gen Z adults who met all three of the following criteria: 1) have “Definitively heard about the Holocaust,” AND 2) can name at least one concentration camp, death camp, or ghetto, AND 3) know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Sadly, 59 percent of respondents indicate that they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider said of the 2020 Survey, “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.”
Visit the Florida Holocaust Museum: https://www.thefhm.org/