(January 24, 2019 / JNS) A new and troubling poll conducted in Canada ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day reveals critical gaps in knowledge about and awareness of the Holocaust, particularly among the country’s millennials.
The poll was conducted by the Azrieli Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
More than half of the people questioned, 54 percent, didn’t know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Among millennials (ages 18-34), 62 percent of those questioned did not know.
Nearly one in five (22 percent) of the millennials questioned never heard of or were not sure they had heard of the Holocaust. No less disconcerting, 52 percent of the millennials questioned couldn’t name a single concentration camp or Jewish ghetto.
There were more than 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust.
The vast majority of respondents (82 percent) believed the Holocaust should be taught in schools, and 85 percent said it was important to continue teaching the subject so that it doesn’t happen again.
Meanwhile, 32 percent of respondents believed that during the war, Canada had an open immigration policy for any Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. In reality, Canada allowed only 5,000 Jewish refugees into the country, one of the worst records among democratic nations.
“We were keen to know how we were doing in Canada,” said Naomi Azrieli, chairwoman and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. “I was shocked and disappointed to see the Canadian results. Clearly, there are gaps in our education system that must be filled, because as it stands now, as a society, we are not preparing the next generation to learn from the past.”