Speed Reads

Holocaust Remembrance Day

11 percent of Americans aren't sure they've heard of the Holocaust

Americans are increasingly less likely to know what Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorating, a troubling study published Thursday found.

The research, conducted by Jewish organization Claims Conference, found that the Holocaust is quickly fading from America's collective memory. The study found that 11 percent of U.S. adults had never heard of, or weren't sure if they had heard of, the Holocaust. Additionally, 22 percent of millennials — aged 18 to 34 — were in the dark about the event, which constituted the systematic killing of 6 million Jews and upwards of 12 million people overall.

Two-thirds of American millennials could not identify Auschwitz, the concentration camp run by Nazi Germany. Moreover, many respondents didn't know that the Holocaust occurred outside of Germany, and substantial percentages of Americans vastly underestimated the number of Jews killed. Many of those surveyed were unable to name a single one of the 40,000 extermination camps.

Thursday is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The youngest survivors of the Holocaust are now in their mid-70s, NBC News reports, making it less likely that younger generations have heard personal accounts of the genocide.

The study additionally reported that 58 percent of Americans believe something like the Holocaust could happen again. Eight out of 10 respondents said schools should teach about the Holocaust in order to prevent similar events in the future.

The study surveyed a random selection of 1350 U.S. adults by phone from February 23-27. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Read more results via Schoen Consulting.