Young in dark about Shoah

JC/ YouGov poll re­veals shock­ing ig­no­rance of the Holo­caust

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY BARRY TOBER­MAN AND RACHEL FLETCHER

MORE THAN a quar­ter of young Bri­tons “do not know” if the Holo­caust hap­pened, a new YouGov poll con­ducted ex­clu­sively for the JC this week re­veals.

Asked whether the Holo­caust was a “myth”, “had hap­pened but its scale had been ex­ag­ger­ated”, or that “six mil­lion Jews had been killed”, 28 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds re­sponded that they did not know. The over­all per­cent­age of “don’t knows” was 17 per cent.

Auschwitz sur­vivor Fred­die Knoller, 85, found the fig­ures “fright­en­ing”. “I lec­ture to schools, mostly to chil­dren over 16, but this makes me think I should con­cen­trate on that age group [18-29s],” he said. “I don’t know how to get hold of them, though.”

Bet­ter news for Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tors was that just one per cent of the over­all sur­vey of 1,132 peo­ple thought the Holo­caust was a myth, and only four per cent be­lieved that the ex­tent of the atroc­i­ties had been de­lib­er­ately ex­ag­ger­ated by Jewish or pro-Is­rael groups.

Ex­clud­ing “don’t knows”, re­spon­dents were in favour of Bri­tain’s an­nual Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day com­mem­o­ra­tion by a four-to-one mar­gin. But a sim- ilar ma­jor­ity was against crim­i­nal­is­ing Holo­caust de­nial in Bri­tain. Opin­ion was di­vided on whether HMD should be re­named Geno­cide Day, re­flect­ing “vic­tims of all per­se­cu­tion through­out the world.” Thirty-five per cent con­sid­ered that the main fo­cus of the day should be on vic­tims of Nazi per­secu- tion, against 31 per cent in favour of Geno­cide Day. Among the over-50s, there was a 38-32 per cent ma­jor­ity for Geno­cide Day. In the over­all re­sponse, 14 per cent felt that “the whole idea of any such day is wrong”.

Only 16 per cent of re­spon­dents wanted Holo­caust de­nial to be a crim­i­nal of­fence here, with 63 per cent against. Among the ABC1 so­cial-grade cat­e­gory, 70 per cent were against crim­i­nal­is­ing Holo­caust de­nial.

Speak­ing to the JC on Wed­nes­day, Home Sec­re­tary John Reid said he de­plored “at­tempts to deny the Holo­caust. I want to see ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strength­ened leg­is­la­tion the gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced to deal with hate crimes in re­cent years.”

On the ques­tion of con­tin­u­ing the late-Jan­uary HMD com­mem­o­ra­tion, mark­ing the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, 60 per cent were in favour, 15 per cent were op­posed, with 25 per cent hav­ing no opin­ion on the mat­ter. Sup­port for the day was high­est among women and re­spon­dents from the North-East, York­shire and Hum­ber­side.

Over­all, 79 per cent said it was true that six mil­lion Jews had been killed. This ac­knowl­edge­ment dropped to 64 per cent among the 18-29s.

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