A comprehensive nationwide study of Holocaust knowledge and awareness among millennials and Gen Z found that Ohio ranks 32nd for Holocaust knowledge among those populations in the country.
The study, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, known as the Claims Conference, was completed by research firm Schoen Cooperman, which conducted 1,000 interviews nationwide and 200 in each state with adults ages 18 to 39. The interviews were conducted between Feb. 28 and March 28.
The margin of error was 3%.
In Ohio, several survey findings were particularly stunning, according to a news release from the Claims Conference. While there were more than 40,000 camps and ghettos during World War II, 46% of the respondents in Ohio could not name a single one. Additionally, 64% of respondents in Ohio did not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
According to the release, other Ohio findings include:
- When asked if they had seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online, 50% of respondents in Ohio said they had, while 41% said they had not.
- 50% of respondents in Ohio believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again.
- 12% of respondents in Ohio think the Jews caused the Holocaust.
- 37% of respondents cannot identify that the Holocaust was associated with World War II.
- 23% of respondents in Ohio believe the Holocaust happened but the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated, is a myth and did not happen, or are unsure.
- 64% of respondents in Ohio believe there is anti-Semitism in the United States today; 14% of respondents believe it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views; and, 59% say they have seen Nazi symbols in their community and/or on social media platforms in the last five years.
- 61% of respondents in Ohio report having never visited a Holocaust museum in the United States.
- 66% of respondents in Ohio believe Holocaust education should be compulsory in school, and 81% said it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust, in part, so that it does not happen again.
Nationally, the study demonstrates a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts, the release stated. Some 63% of all national survey respondents do not know that 6 million Jews were murdered, and 36% thought that “2 million or fewer Jews” were killed during the Holocaust. Additionally, although there were more than 40,000 camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, 48% of national survey respondents could not name one.
“The results are both shocking and saddening and they underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories,” Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, stated in the release. “We need to understand why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past. This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act.”
The Holocaust “knowledge score” was calculated by studying the percentage of millennials and Gen Z adults who met all three of the following criteria: 1) have “definitively heard about the Holocaust,” 2) can name at least one concentration camp, death camp or ghetto, and 3) know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The states with the highest Holocaust knowledge scores were: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa and Montana.
The states with the lowest Holocaust knowledge scores were: Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas.