Wisconsin scores highest in Holocaust awareness, new national survey finds

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A woman lights a Memorial Candle during an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(WFRV) – Millennials and Gen Z Wisconsinites scored highest in Holocaust awareness, according to the first-ever survey of Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Gen Z across the U.S.

The remainder of the results were less positive.

Nearly two-thirds of United States residents under the age of 40 don’t know that 6 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, a new survey found. In one of the most comprehensive studies of American understanding of the Holocaust, some of the most important details of the genocide were lost among young adults in the United States.

After interviewing 11,000 people nationwide and 200 interviews in each state with adults ages 18 to 39 through phone and online interviews, historians and experts with the Claims Conference found that 63% of those interviewed did not know 6 million Jews were murdered.

Instead, 36% of the Millennial and Gen Z respondents thought that 2 million or fewer Jews were murdered. More than 1 in 10 respondents claim having never heard the word “Holocaust” before.

The survey found Arkansas has the lowest Holocaust knowledge score, with less than 2-in-10, or 17%, of Millennials and Gen Z meeting the Holocaust knowledge criteria.

The Holocaust “knowledge score” is 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.

Wisconsin has the highest Holocaust knowledge score. Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, and Montana also garnerd high scores.

The states with the lowest Holocaust Knowledge Scores are Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Here’s a full breakdown of Wisconsin’s results, according to the survey:

  • When asked to name a concentration camp, death camp, or ghetto, just 32% of surveyed Wisconsinites were unable to – only Maine had a lower percentage at 25%.
  • Among Millenial and Gen Z Wisconsinites, 21% say they did not know what Auschwitz was – no state had a lower percentage than that. Overall, 56% of those surveyed across the U.S. were unable to identify Auschwitz.
  • Only 6% of those surveyed in Wisconsin believe Jews caused the Holocaust. The survey found 11% of U.S. Millenial and Gen Z responded that Jews caused the Holocaust.
  • Less than 50% of Millenial and Gen Z Wisconsin did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust – Wisconsin’s 47% was the lowest in the nation.
  • Twenty-three percent of Wisconsinites surveyed say they believe 2 million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
  • When asked if they have seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online, 46% of Wisconsinites said they had. In Colorado, 61% said they had – that’s the highest in the survey.
  • When asked if they have seen Nazi symbols on the social media platforms they have visited in the past five years, 53% in Wisconsin said yes. Nevada reported 70% said they had – that’s the highest in the survey.
  • Millennial and Gen Z Wisconsin largely believe it is important to continue teaching about the Holocaust, in part so that it doesn’t happen again. Wisconsin’s 85% was on the higher end of state-by-state response.

To see the full results of the survey, click here.

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