Special Report

States With the Lowest Holocaust Awareness

If you answered that it was the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp, which operated in Poland from 1940 to 1945, then congratulations, you are among a majority of Americans who have at least some rudimentary awareness of the Holocaust. (These are 25 infamous Nazi concentration camps.)

But according to a survey conducted in 2020, the number of poll respondents who couldn’t name one of the 24 major concentration camps (as listed by the Jewish Virtual Library) that operated prior to and through World War II ranges from 21% in Wisconsin to 56% in Mississippi.

In the same survey, between 47% of Wisconsinites and 69% of Arkansans said they weren’t aware that six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. Furthermore, a sizable number of Americans who said they were aware of the Holocaust vastly underestimated the number of Jews who were murdered by at least two-thirds.

These Americans are also likely unaware that millions of non-Jews were also victims of the deadliest and longest-running genocide in human history, which took place from 1933, when the Dachau concentration camp in Southern Germany opened, to the end of World War II in 1945. (These horrifying images of Nazi death camps.)

“We need to understand why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past,” said Gideon Taylor, head of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, when the survey was released.

To determine the states with the lowest Holocaust awareness, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from 2020 U.S. Millennial and Gen Z Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey conducted by Schoen Cooperman Research. States were ranked based on the percentage of surveyed adults between the ages of 18 and 39 who had definitely heard about the Holocaust; could name at least one concentration camp, death camp, or ghetto; and knew that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

Click here to see the states with the lowest Holocaust awareness

Supplemental data on the percentage of adults who have seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online and the percentage of adults who have seen Nazi symbols in their community or on social media in the past five years also came from Schoen Cooperman Research and was published by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Data on total population came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates.

Among the ten most populous U.S. states (home to more than half of the country) the share of the population with low Holocaust awareness ranges from 20% in Florida to 31% in Pennsylvania. As many as 58% of people in Texas are exposed to online Holocaust denial while 67% of New York state residents have been exposed to Nazi symbols in the past five years.

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