Half of Britons don’t know 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust

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Just over half of Britons were unaware that 6 million Jews had been murdered during the Holocaust, and less than a quarter believed 2 million or less had been killed, according to a new survey.

The study also found that 67% of British respondents mistakenly believed that the government allowed all or part of Jewish immigration, when in fact the British government closed the door to Jewish immigration at the start of the war. .

When asked about Kindertransport, an initiative set up between 1938 and 1939 to rescue nearly 10,000 Jewish refugee children and bring them to Britain, 76% said they did not know what the historic effort.

The survey, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also found that the overwhelming majority of those polled (89%) said they had certainly heard of the Holocaust, and about three-quarters knew that it was the mass murder of Jews. .

A majority of UK respondents (57%) also believe that fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust today than before, and 56% believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again today.

Most people in the UK’s four countries – Wales (66%), Northern Ireland (61%), England (55%) and Scotland (54%) – think something like the Holocaust could happen again today.

When asked about education, 91% of people in Northern Ireland think it is important to continue teaching about the Holocaust. The figures were similar in the other regions – 88% in England and Wales and 86% in Scotland.

The organization conducted a similar study last year of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 and found that 48% couldn’t name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during World War II.

The figure was slightly better for British respondents, with 32% unable to name a concentration camp or ghetto, including Auschwitz.

The study surveyed 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over between September 29 and October 17, 2021.

Gideon Taylor, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, said: “We are very concerned to see the profound gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust in this study and in previous studies, including on the UK related events. Yet it is very powerful that the overwhelming majority of British respondents say that the Holocaust should be taught in schools. “

“Eighty-eight percent think it’s important to keep teaching about the Holocaust, in part so that it doesn’t happen again. This is where we need to focus our energy. Education will not only fill knowledge gaps about the Holocaust, but it will also make citizens better and more empathetic. “

It came as new figures from the Students Office showed that 95 UK universities have adhered to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. This is believed to represent a huge increase over the past year, after research by the Jewish Students’ Union published in September 2020 found that only 28 universities had adopted the definition.

Last year, former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson threatened universities that failed to adopt the IHRA definition with sanctions. The definition has fueled controversy among academics, some of whom fear that its amalgamation of anti-Jewish prejudices with a political debate over Israel and Palestine will stifle academic freedom.

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