The Failure of American Holocaust Education

September 17, 2020 | Elizabeth Rosner
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For decades, the U.S. Jewish community has invested heavily in trying to raise awareness of the Shoah, and make its history part of Jewish and general educations. Non-Jewish educators and leaders have been largely receptive to these efforts, and often embraced them wholeheartedly. Yet, according to a new in-depth survey, 23 percent of American ages eighteen through thirty-nine think it possible or likely that the Holocaust didn’t happen, or has been greatly exaggerated. And 12 percent of respondents stated that either they were not aware of the Holocaust, or weren’t sure if they had ever learned about it. Even in New York state, the results are disheartening, writes Elizabeth Rosner:

Nearly 20 percent of [those surveyed] in New York believe Jews caused the Holocaust. . . . Additionally, 60 percent of respondents in New York do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. A total of 34 percent of respondents in New York believe the Holocaust happened but the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated or believe the Holocaust is a myth and did not happen or are unsure.

A shocking 28 percent of respondents in New York believe it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views, while 62 percent have never visited a Holocaust museum in the United States.

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