The Need to Raise Public Awareness

The Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”) commissioned a global public opinion project to research attitudes and opinions toward Jews in more than 100 countries. Anzalone Liszt Grove Research randomly selected and interviewed 53,100 people 18 years of age and over across 101 countries and the Palestinian Territories between July 2013 and February 2014.

Overall, 35% of respondents never heard of the Holocaust. ADL Global 100 Executive Summary, 7. Only 33% of Respondents heard of the Holocaust and believe it has been accurately described by history. A majority of people surveyed overall have either not heard of the Holocaust or do not believe it happened as has been described by history. ADL Global 100 Executive Summary, 33. Among those who have heard of the Holocaust, 32% believe it is either a myth or has been greatly exaggerated. Younger people are even less aware of the Holocaust. Only 48% of people under age 35 are aware of the Holocaust. ADL Global 100 Executive Summary, 11. In the Americas, 77% have heard of the Holocaust. Of those who have heard about it, 72% believe that “It has been described fairly by history” and 21% believe that “It was a myth or an exaggeration.” ADL Global 100 Executive Summary, 14. In Eastern Europe, 82% have heard of the Holocaust. Of those who have heard about it, 69% believe that “It has been described fairly by history” and 24% believe that “It was a myth or an exaggeration.” ADL Global 100 Executive Summary, 16.


awareness1A survey conducted by the Forsa Research Institute in 2012 found that 21% of Germans aged between 18 and 30 did not know the name of Auschwitz or what happened there.


A study conducted in the United Kingdom by war veterans’ charity Erskine tested 2,000 children aged 9 to 15 for their knowledge of the First and Second World Wars. Some said that Adolf Hitler was the manager of Germany’s national soccer team, and Auschwitz was a World War Two theme park.  5% thought the Holocaust was the celebration at the end of the war and 10% said the SS was Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven. Only 50% of the respondents knew D-Day was the invasion of Normandy, and 25% thought it was “Dooms Day.”


awareness2In an online poll of 2,998 people in Great Britain taken in late October 2012 almost 66% of 16-24 year olds were unable to say that the First World War ended in 1918 and 54% did not know the war began in 1914. Some thought the Great War started as early as 1800 and began as late as 1950. Others said the War ended as early as 1910 and ended as late as 1960. 33% of all respondents could not name the year that the Great War started.


awareness3In the fall of 2013, Rhonda Fink-Whitman, a veteran TV and radio personality and author of 94 Maidens, asked college students about the Holocaust, U.S. history and World War II at college campuses in Pennsylvania including the University of Pennsylvania and recorded their responses. Students did not know why the U.S. entered the war, who the president was at the time, where Normandy was located, or why Allied forces landed there. One student said he did not know who Anne Frank was because he never read the book.


According to American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a higher education nonprofit organization promoting academic excellence, only 40% of Americans know that June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day and less than half know that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president at the time. Another survey found that only two in five knew the Battle of the Bulge occurred in World War II.


awareness4In a survey, 72% of students failed to identify that the U.S. fought Hitler and Germany in World War II, according to CollegeStas, an informational website which aggregates publicly available information provided by the U.S. Department of Education.  Many students had no idea who Adolf Hitler was. Nearly 25% of students could not identify him.  And 10% of students thought he was a “mutinous manufacturer.”

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