Many young Vermonters unaware of Holocaust

U.S. Army forces witness horror of German concentration camp

by David Flemming

Friday, January 27, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. According to a 2020 study from the Claims Conference, an alarming number of individuals from age 18 to 39 know little about the Holocaust, and young Vermonters are little different in this regard. The Claims Conference has advocated for Jewish Holocaust survivors since 1951, distributing $90 billion in compensation.

The study looked at what young individuals in the US (broken down by state), the UK, France, Austria and Canada believed about the Holocaust.  Some highlights:

  • 42% of young Vermonters can’t name a concentration camp, death camp or ghetto; 29% of young Vermonters did not know what Auschwitz was when asked.
  • 29% of young Vermonters believe 2 million or fewer Jews were killed; 65% of young Vermonters did not know that 6 million Jews were killed.
  • 43% of young Vermonters have seen Holocaust denial or distortion on social media or elsewhere online.
  • 52% of young Vermonters have seen Nazi symbols on social media platforms they have visited in the past 5 years.
  • Perhaps most disturbingly, 7% of young Vermonters think Jews “caused the Holocaust.” This is actually below the US average of 11%.

This 2020 study mirrors a more informal survey which found that 1 in 3 American & Canadian teenagers think Holocaust reporting is inaccurate. According to the survey released a few days ago, around a third of Canadian and American students question whether the Holocaust actually happened.

The survey was commissioned by Liberation75, a Canadian organization committed to Holocaust education and remembrance. More than 3,000 students in grades 6-12 were surveyed before a two-day virtual Holocaust education conference. “One in three of our respondents stated that they believed that the Holocaust was fabricated or not reported in a way that was accurate to what actually happened,” said Alex Lerner, researcher and assistant professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy.

1 in 10 young Americans believes that the Holocaust never happened, while 23% think the number of those killed has been exaggerated.

Despite the thousands spent on educating each Vermont student, there are clearly important gaps in knowledge. There are few parts in history more important than describing what led from the slow buildup of the Nazi National Socialist German Workers’ Party to the Holocaust.

As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel remarked in his book Night “for the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”

Editor’s note: bipartisan bills to promote Holocaust education in Vermont public schools have been introduced in the House and Senate.

David Flemming is a policy analyst Ethan Allen Institute

Categories: History

16 replies »

  1. And precisely WHERE did all this “disinformation” come from? Who is to blame for the lack of awareness of one of the worst, most evil genocides the world has ever known? The answer to both is: Vermont PUBLIC schools funded by you, by me, and by all.

    This is a personal affront, of course, to the millions of Jewish people tortured slaughtered in the most twisted way including women, children, & innocent babies – but to the Thousands of Christians who died to hide & protect them, the American soldiers & allies who fought & died in the rescue, and the Christian clergy members who often sacrificed their own lives to be murdered in their stead.

    This information is an abomination and every Jewish individual in VT should be made clearly aware of it. The democrats & the “progressives” (aka: socialists, Communists & Marxists) are not their allies but the mainstream media does NOT wish this to become known. And it likely won’t become known in VT outside of what we all see here in Guy’s publication.

  2. My grandfather died in the holocaust. He wasn’t even Jewish just one of the “unclean” races. 80 years latter it still affects our family.
    The behavior of the left is very much like how the nazi’s behaved in the 30’s!

  3. It isn’t any wonder just look at any of the history books they use in Gov-Ed. If they don’t know anything about the holocaust then they don’t know that the Nazi’s were SOCIALISTS. What else don’t they know?

    • No. The Nazi’s were not socialists, despite having the word in the full name of the party. You can check out the entry at Snopes.com, and you will see all the detail. The Nazi party completely ignored socialism’s primary aim (replacing the existing class-based society with an egalitarian one in which workers owned the means of production).

    • No, the Nazi’s were not socialists, despite the word “socialist” being in the full name of their party. This is pretty clearly explained in the entry at Snopes.com under “Were Nazis Socialists?”
      The Nazi’s completely ignored socialism’s primary aim (replacing the existing class-based society with an egalitarian one in which workers owned the means of production). They worked against other parties that were communist or socialist.

  4. I guarantee you that our public schools are too busy teaching the kids that they can change their sex, that white people are terrible and black people are all innocent victims, that anyone who wants to cross our border to enter our country should be able to and that we should give all of our property to the Abenaki (except their property of course). So no time to cover the Holocaust.

  5. Rather than blaming anti-Semitism, this is a general trend of ignorance of all important facts and history, and the notion that history is prone to repeating itself. The same ignorant youth are typically unable to discern between WWI, WWII, the US Civil War, the Revolutionary War etc. Despite what the Vermont taxpayer is forced to “invest” in education, the results are abysmal. Go into a deli and look for the person in their 20s working the counter and ask for 2/3 pound of ham and observe the blank stare on their face…

    • Understanding the constitution and the importance of free speech and debate is the corner stone to insuring our understand and appreciate the lessons of the past

  6. It is a sad state of affairs that the most widely known genocide is so poorly taught (and that means other large scale genocides that might involve millions of people are probably even lesser known). This isn’t all on the schools though, and it isn’t just a one-sided political party push. Across the country, in so many states, parents are the ones pushing schools to avoid topics that might be hard to discuss. It certainly doesn’t help when groups step in and ban books like “Maus” as has happened in other states. Pretty sad state of affairs.

    • On one side, you’ve got parents, educators, and legislators pushing schools to include topics that might be hard to discuss, and those who disagree are answered with criticism. On the other side, you’ve got parents pushing schools to avoid topics that might be hard to discuss, and…they are met with criticism. Interesting. How would you feel about a book being taught in schools that describes, through written descriptions and photos/illustrations, what happens to a pre-born human being during an abortion? Would that be acceptable to you, or would you push to have that book removed from the curriculum? At first, it amazed me that the Holocaust is so poorly taught these days. Upon reflection, however, I realized that it is very difficult to teach the Holocaust when we so dearly embrace our “right” to deem another human being unworthy of life. We can’t truly condemn the actions of Hitler and the Nazis when we are pushing for an amendment to our state Constitution glorifying and protecting a person’s “right” to determine that another human should die. That would be pure, utter hypocrisy, wouldn’t it?

  7. Chittenden county and Vermont’s largest employer for years was IBM. Mr. Watson CEO was a Nazi collaborator who flourished during the Nazi campaign across Europe. IBM had service offices in all the death camps in Germany. The tabulating machines catagorized each and every Jew and undesirable. It was IBM that allowed Hitler to find every Jew in Europe so their livelihoods and wealth could be taken from them. Those IBM punch card numbers were tattooed into the skin of every age child, parent and elder. Medical advancements were numberous due to the German doctors experimenting and mutilating Jews, especially childhood twins to determine the value of genetics. SO forgive me if I don’t cry over critical race theory or slavery. Nothing in this country of America except for the Indians have ever come close to the effecient, systematic extermination of a race of people like that of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Substitute Facebook, twitter for IBM and substitute antifa and BLM for German youth Brown shirts and cancel culture and history is on the verge of another holocaust. The hardest obstacle for Hitler was the logistics of disposing of millions of dead bodies. Its much easier today if you can use the existing infrastructure to dispose of millions of dead bodies that are happening for instance with bioweapons from China’s Wuhan labs. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing.

    • I’m critical that when I was growing up the Jewish losses were overemphasized. That is, we didn’t hear about the Gypsies, Poles, Russians, those labeled homosexual, old, disabled, etc. They were all people.
      That being said, the sheer ignorance about the Holocaust should frighten all of us. Yes, Antifa are the equivalent of Brownshirts.

      • I couldn’t agree more. My grandfather and most of his siblings, died in the holocaust.
        We were not Jewish, nor did we get a penny of holocaust compensation like the Jews did. Our family lost upwards of twenty people to the camps.

  8. I was in school in VT in the 40’s and50’s, and I can tell you we were instructed on the Holocaust. The day Phil Hoff was sworn in as governor, was the day that started the liberal takeover in VT. Democrats even, serving back then are furious at what is happening now. Let us hope and pray enough changes are forthcoming this Nov to at least put cold water in the steam roller now under motion with a couple of wayward Republicans off course and floundering.

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