newsHolocaust & Holocaust Survivors

Less than half of Nevadans can define Jew-hatred, per state’s study

More than a quarter of young voters in the state didn’t know who caused the Holocaust.

A World War II cattle car traveling exhibit teaching lessons of the Holocaust was stationed in Washington, D.C., from May 6-9, 2024. Credit: Courtesy of Hate Ends Now.
A World War II cattle car traveling exhibit teaching lessons of the Holocaust was stationed in Washington, D.C., from May 6-9, 2024. Credit: Courtesy of Hate Ends Now.

Nevadans have trouble defining Jew-hatred and struggled with even basic information about the Holocaust, including knowing who caused the Shoah, per a new survey from the Nevada Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust.

The poll surveyed 1,406 registered Nevadan voters, 54% of whom could not define antisemitism correctly when asked “What, in your understanding, does the word ‘antisemitism’ mean?” When pollsters told respondents that the word meant prejudice against Jewish people” and were asked whether it was increasing, 28% said it was increasing greatly (7%) or somewhat (21%). Some 15% said it was decreasing, and 56% wasn’t sure or thought it was not changing.

When asked if they’d seen or heard of Nazi symbols in their communities, 30% said that it had in person and 39% had online. Most (61%) had seen Holocaust jokes online

“Most Nevadans cannot define antisemitism. Only 11% will say antisemitism is a problem when asked directly,” per the report. “But, the more we defined antisemitism and asked people about specifics, the more antisemitism was reported.”

Most Nevadans had either definitely (89%) heard of the Holocaust previously or thought (8%) they had, while 3% didn’t think it had or definitely had not previously heard of the Holocaust. Nearly all (94%) believed the Holocaust happened, while 2% reported believing that the Shoah never occurred.

When asked about the death count of the Holocaust, 86% believed that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was accurately reported. Some 8% said that the Holocaust took place, but the number of Jews killed was “greatly exaggerated.” Another 1% said the Holocaust was a myth. Some 37% said that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, while 7% each said that the total was 1, 2 and 20 million Jews. A combined 7% said that 100,000 (5%) or 25,000 (2%) Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

More than a quarter of Nevadans (28%) said that Holocaust distortion was on the rise in the state, compared to 23% that said it was decreasing in Nevada. More Nevadans (37%) said that Holocaust denial was increasing online, while 15% said it was decreasing. Some 14% said that it knew someone who denies or distorts the Holocaust.

Younger Nevadans, particularly those ages 18 to 34, had “low awareness,” per the survey.

One in 10 overall, and 14% of 18- to 44-year-olds, hadn’t previously heard the term “genocide.” Nearly four in 10 (39%) of those ages 18 to 34 couldn’t name a single genocide, compared to 28% of respondents overall.

Some 17% of young voters, ages 18 to 34, did not know who caused the Holocaust, while another 8% cited a “broad cause,” such as “hate.” Three quarters mentioned Hitler, Nazis or the like. 

Most of those ages 18 to 34 (53%), and 47% of respondents overall, couldn’t name a single concentration camp or ghetto associated with the Holocaust.

“Across measures of Holocaust denial/distortion, genocide knowledge and related areas, Nevadans don’t meet the ideal standard. But young Nevada voters fare especially poorly,” the survey concludes.

“Time won’t solve this problem. Parents of children under 18 also reported worry about their kids,” it adds. “If no action is taken, the next generation—beyond Gen Z—could have even lower awareness.”

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