A group of Holocaust survivors

Only about 400,000 Holocaust survivors are still alive today to tell their stories – and many are now in their 80s and 90s.

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana


For seven decades, “never forget” has been the rallying cry of the Holocaust remembrance movement. The brutal and systematic murder of six million Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany is amongst the darkest episodes in modern human history. But with only some 400,000 survivors left worldwide, most in their 80s and 90s, our collective memories appear to be fading.

A shocking new survey (released, ironically, on Holocaust Remembrance Day) reveals that many Americans – particularly millennials – lack a most basic understanding of the Holocaust and its horrors.

How Bad Is It?

Among the survey’s most alarming findings was that 41 percent of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz is. Among millennials (people aged 18-34), that number was even worse: 66 percent.

Nearly one in three Americans – and 41 percent of millennials – think that less than two million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. The actual number is roughly six million (and some experts estimate even more).

Perhaps the survey’s only silver lining is the fact that only four percent of respondents fell into the category of “Holocaust deniers,” and an overwhelming majority think the Holocaust should continue to be taught in school.

“Not Enough”

However, acknowledging that something happened is fairly useless if you remain ignorant about the important details, underlying causes, and lasting repercussions. “The issue is not that people deny the Holocaust; the issue is just that it’s receding from memory,” explains Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany – a group dedicated to spreading Holocaust awareness.

So that begs the question: how have Americans become so clueless about this appalling chapter of human history?

A popular scapegoat might be our education system – although the Holocaust is prominently featured in any respectable high school history textbook. Perhaps those lessons are getting glossed over? Or maybe they’re simply not being taken to heart by a new generation of students more concerned with social media and Netflix than history’s great tragedies.

There are worse crimes than being ignorant of the past, of course. In a perfect world, basic human decency would be enough to ensure the Holocaust is truly a “never again” type of event.

Mireille Knoll

85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was recently murdered in her Paris apartment.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Anti-Semitism On the Rise

Last year, Jewish Community Centers across the U.S. were hit with a rash of coordinated bomb threats, forcing numerous evacuations and generating widespread anxiety. If that weren’t enough, a pair of Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis were vandalized and gravestones toppled.

While heightened anti-Muslim sentiments have been covered extensively in the media, FBI statistics indicate that Jews are the most targeted religious group. The most recent numbers show that Jews are the victims in over half of all religious hate crimes in the U.S.

Europe is witnessing a similarly disturbing trend. After years of calm, anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise. Just last month, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment in what is being investigated as an anti-Semitic hate crime.

Moving Forward

If the Holocaust teaches us anything, it’s that hate directed at any group, if unchecked and left to fester, can result in atrocities beyond even our darkest imaginations. To truly prevent another Holocaust-type event, it’s our responsibility to ensure younger generations never forget its terrible lessons.

 

37 comments

  1. Joe says:

    Netflix has lots of Holocaust related content.
    It wasn’t part of my schooling but we knew people that had it fresh in their minds.
    Revising and ignoring the facts of history is becoming all too common

    1. atatakaidanjp says:

      Sadly, Joe, that is the case on many historical issues. There are many America adults who do not even know who the US fought during the Revolutionary War, let alone for what reason. The same applies to the War Between The States (I refuse to call it a “civil war” given that war is never civil.)

      1. Cliff Love says:

        Yeah, “civil war” seems to be quite the oxymoron!

  2. atatakaidanjp says:

    This is much like those who believe “Columbus discovered Ohio in 1776.”

  3. James says:

    Most ppl have minimal to no interest in the past. They claim “dwelling on the past is unhealthy” or “Move fwd” or “get over it”. As variation the past continues in one form or an other. When will humanity as a whole & individually learn?

    1. Helene says:

      Sadly I have to agree with you James. In fact I read on a regular basis, that living in the past is one of the causes of depression, so it is now widely advocated to live only in the here and now.

      1. Tom says:

        Helene…good point…in “reality”, we can only live in the exact present, anyway…and it is a freeing feeling…Peace…Tom

  4. Gilbert Mason says:

    The German army remove all the guns from the general public.. right before they started the concentration camps.

    Hmm.. removing all the guns from the public.. sounds familiar.

    1. Nolan says:

      This is a misreading of history on two levels. First, German citizens as a whole were not disarmed by the Nazis. Jews and other supposed enemies of the state were subject to having their weapons seized. But for most German citizens, the Nazi period was one in which gun regulations were loosened, not tightened.

      Second, a lack of guns was not the issue. If the majority of Germans had wanted to use these guns to fight the Nazis, they could have. But they didn’t. Carson ignores that the Nazis enjoyed significant popular support, or at least, broad acquiescence.

  5. Joe says:

    It’s like watching a train wreck. Unfortunately we are on the train.

  6. Jolene says:

    I would ask how ignorant or down right stupid some people are but it would be a challenge to some. Keep eating Tide pods and taking selfies kiddos.

  7. James says:

    The education system is total crap. More like opinion repeating than actually teaching children to learn things. The old ways of reduction still work if they would simply apply it Math, reading and writing until you master that nothing else should matter. Once your can communicate clearly, then science, history and philosophy. Teach the truth no matter how bad it is or who don’t like it. The truth.

  8. Jim says:

    Those who do not head the past are doomed to relive it.

  9. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

    They are probably the same people who are unaware of the American Holocaust as well in which massive genocide was committed against First Americans.

  10. Tom says:

    Sadly, one more generation of technological advances and social media, and there will effectively be no past…George Orwell was simply ahead of his time………….

    1. John A Anderson, CD says:

      Unfortunately, he meant it as a warning, not an instruction manual

      1. Tom says:

        John…well said…Peace…Tom

        1. Carl Elfstrom says:

          I believe the first time I saw movies about Auschwitz and the other concentration camps was in school. Of course, I finished high school thirty seven years ago and memory fades, but I remember seeing those films and studying about the subject when I was quite young, and seeing documentaries on TV about the holocaust since. We also must not forget that the Jewish people were not the only ones tortured and murdered in the Nazi concentration camps. There were the ones who were required to wear pink triangles in the concentration camps; gay people, and also Gypsies. Remembering the past and dwelling on it are two different things. Living in the present moment also has nothing to do with it. All we ever have is the present moment, but without remembering and knowing what happened in the past we don’t and won’t have a point of reference to learn from our mistakes. I don’t know what if anything theyre teaching in public schools anymore. However, I know that they weren’t doing a good job of it when I was a kid. I’m grateful that my first six years of schooling was in private schools. Even though I was a rebellious, juvenile delinquent, two months into attending public school, I skipped a grade. Before the end of that school year though, I got expelled.

      2. John Owens says:

        Exactly– a warning. Aldous Huxley was doing the same. There is a strange kind of honor among the globalist hierarchy– they feel they have to tell us what they are going to do, without making us believe it can be their real plan.

        1. Tom says:

          John…respectfully, i do not understand the point you are trying to make…what about “The Illustrated Man”, by Ray Bradbury; or “The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson?…are all the science fiction/fantasy writers part of your “globalist hierarchy”?…and what is its point?…please explain…thanks…Peace…Tom

  11. John Owens says:

    Thank you, National Education Association for the curriculum which creates such a knowledge deficit in our population.

    1. Dr. Ramona says:

      It’s true, our education system really doesn’t teach people critical thinking skills, or logic. Did you know there are idiots out there who actually believe Obama was born in Kenya and not the US?!

      Thanks, education system!

      1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

        Lol very nice Ramona. So true. Crazy ass birthers and flat earthers.

  12. T'Keren Valmaz says:

    This is not some grand conspiracy.folks. Time moves on and the young not stressing out over past tragedies and having horrors thrown at them is not some cover up.

    I recall back in high school watching schindler’s list. It was in sociology not history and the teacher felt it was a window into social changes and upheaval.

    My history class around that time went with all quiet on the western front.

    The difference was that List was giving some of my classmates nightmares.

    Yes alot of people died during both the World Wars. But the important thing to recall is that be it in battle or as a bystander all those lives lost were tragic to someone.

    Some feel the need to keep waiving the nazi party as the icon of evil. Myself I tend to see Stalin as a bigger monster.

    There is a lack of evidence for example to directly tie Hitler to the death camps. While ample evidence to prove it was largely a camp by camp basis with more influence coming from the base commander and officers exploiting the situation.

    There is a lack of hard evidence about the number of deaths, and even several major cases of jews claiming to have lost loved ones in camps that never went to camps and died before the war began. In an effort to claim holocaust survivor status for various reasons.

    Stories like the diary of Anne Frank can be so charged with emotion that some like myself feel they are too much for kids and best left to adults wanting to educate themselves about history.

    there are plenty of recent tragedies that are occurring in this era that too few really know about or understand. It often seems to me the Israeli government especially likes to bring up the holocaust and label people as jew haters to misdirect any decrying their actions. Such as holding children without trial for months and months as a way to use them as hostages to force parents into compliance.

    1. Norman Gold says:

      Only an ignoramus and antiSemite would say such abhorrent stuff! No connection between Hitler and the destruction and concentration camps? Are you kidding me? Are you that ignorant? NOTHING was done by anyone among the Nazis without Hitler’s consent. And it was Hitler’s speeches and propaganda that DIRECTLY led to the Holocaust. To think and state otherwise can only be abject ignorance of history and pure antisemitism. My God – and you find yourself on a religious site? You, and people like you, make me nauseous!

      1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

        I frequently encounter this attack approach. That one is anti semetic merely for not putting jews up on a pedestal nor see them as any thing but ordinary people. They are the ones taht choose to isolate and promote themselves as the chosen people of their one true god.

        As for the statement about Hitler. He was a single man, and for the last half of his reign little more then a puppet to his doctors that had him on all sorts of drugs.

        He was himself not nearly the hater of jews so many assume he was. He was merely using it as a way to manipulate and gain power. There is even an account by a jewish friend and school mate of hitler’s that Adolf was his only friend in school because he was jewish and hitler personally oversaw he nd his family being escorted out of germany after the rise of the Reich.

        We see the same kind of the head doesnt know what the hands are doing situation in our country with prisons and other Law Enforcement departments. It is not really that hard to imagine that Hitler was quite out of the loop when it came to situations in the camps. Not every camp had mass graves, furnaces and gas chambers.

        We even saw a similar issue in the U.S. in WWII with the camps japanese citizens had been put in, with physical and sexual abuse, food and medicine being stolen by the soldiers and sold on the black market, murders being covered up etc.

        The fact is that people like to point a finger at the nazi and say they are the epitome of evil they really where not. They are just another example of nationalism and xenophobia leading a people into war and tragedy for all involved.

        I myself vehemently condemn any country or culture that promote themselves as the best, the chosen race etc and the fact that Israel practices the same kind of behavior that the Germans of WWII are held up in eternal contempt for and that germans to this day have to kind of hold themselves back on the international stage as leaders because people go oh know the germans are trying to conquer the world again!

        1. Bigler says:

          Not sure where you received your “education”. But I find many holes in your theory. And you do sound suspiciously like an anti-Semitic person. Maybe you should talk to someone whose family members was actually alive during Hitler’s rule. Hitler should be vilified. He was a bully on the grand scale of life and death. Look at the sick experiments he allowed Mengele to conduct on Jews. You are very under educated on what happened. Quit relying on Netflix and Movies genre’s. Instead, read books and reports from that time period. And speak with real live survivors. But you better hurry, because there aren’t so many of them left. Visit the Holocaust Museum. Get a perspective.

          1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

            typical rant full of personal attacks and assumptions. The history of both world wars has been a major interest to me for decades.

            I am not saying the death camps didnt happen. But it is a fact not one bit of documentation with hitlers signature has ever been produced showing he ordered the atrocities.

            He was however well known to be a pawn of his doctors especially during the last half of his reign, being given drug cocktails that would of surely kept him in a confused and paranoid state.

            And as for Mengele the so called doctor of death. Considering some of the stories survivors told about him such as jumping on the bellies of pregnant women is so over the top and far removed from what any of his well documented and scientifically motivated experiments show of his rationale, I tend to treat many of the claims with a strong dose of skepticism.

            He himself on several occasions while in hiding told his story and admitted many of the things that where well documented but pleaded to be believed that those things with no scientific aspect where just lies said to make him a monster and the survivors even bigger victims then they were.

            This is something seen about the hebrew people since the time of the so called exile from their homeland. They to this day decry Babylon, the place they were brought, even though it is the place and culture that gave them the written word, where they found acceptance and integrated peacefully. Not a place or persecution and degradation as its taught to this day by them in their so called holy text, that guess what many stories such as the great flood predate the earliest versions of their holy text and have been found on clay tablets from babylon. Showing they just like later christianity did with many so called pagan aspects, borrowed from other cultures and wove into their myths.

            As far as the jewish religion go yeah I am more likely to challenge its more zealot followers and call BS of it and any faith that teaches its followers they are the chosen people above all others.

  13. robert john costa says:

    I had the honor of being raised by many people who fought to free the world of the Nazi demons. I was told how they got so many to follow their path of evil. Fear of being subjected to their wrath lead these people to follow satins path. They rewarded those who killed, and torched gods children and upheld the Nazi laws. Those who resisted or spoke up were detained, killed and torchered for their actions. Fear then entered their lives that their families would be torched for their actions. Tempation of lives of privilage for those who conformed fueled the devils fire. Look around us and we see nothing different in satins plan here. In modern day laws all who take arms to protect satins laws are rewarded while others are subjected to lives of poverty. “a rich man has as much of a chance to enter the gates of heaven as he has to pull a camel through a needle”. Fear not my friends God will provide love one another and stand with all who resist satins ways work together god will help those who stand strong overcome. Gods power is in numbers fight for the freedom to allow the people to vote out satins laws. It matter less how much we pray or what say it matters more what we do. Follow Gods path!!

  14. Professor says:

    The photo is very dramatic but for the thinking person, it is not proof. The evidence is clear, Hitler and Germany were the opposite of how they are being portrayed. The Holocaust Lie has become an industry. The Federal Reserve Banks are the real war mongers. But go ahead and believe this Holocaust lie if it makes you feel better. It is now illegal to deny the Holocaust in 15 countries including Canada and I do mean serving jail time. Is the truth so profound that you can’t even utter it? The Serpent People lie like their father. The Devil will fool the very elect. The Holy Spirit will not reveal the truth to you until your heart is in the right place.

    1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

      Wow, you are serious? When was the last time you sat down and spoke with survivor family members? I would wager, not one. I have. When you say there is no proof, what in the world do you mean? I have seen the number tattoos on the arms of survivors when I was a child. What kind of proof do you need? The “devil and holy Spirit” have nothing to do with genocide.Genocide is committed by hate and fear- filled low life humans. Perhaps you are a fan of Alex Jones and believe his lies about the Germany Holocaust. Shame, shame, shame to denigrate survivors and their family members.

      1. Professor says:

        I am not astonished by your ignorance because most people are ignorant and would not know the truth if it bit them in the face. If you actually studied, you would know what the evidence is but I must assume that like most people, living for mammon is more important than living for God. The plank in your eye is huge.

  15. Father Fred says:

    I’m confident within a decade or two, most of 20th century history will be forgotten. And as they say, if you don’t learn from history, you’re bound to repeat it. In fact, with the present tone of American politics you can say we’re looking at late 1920s, and early 1930s Germany being replayed on U.S. soil.

  16. Donna Rae Gahrman says:

    The Bible indeed tells us that the Jews are His, God’s chosen people. But Jesus’ crucifixion reconciled ALL men with God. Because of free will we have a choice, but God chooses us first.
    I am appalled at the way history is being treated in this “politically correct” generation. Public schools are leaving kids behind as far as basic education goes. Glass screens have everything you want to know so why learn it for yourself. That said, everything is moving along just as God has written.

  17. Aaliyah Saloman says:

    “To truly prevent another Holocaust-type event, it’s our responsibility to ensure younger generations never forget its terrible lessons.”

    Intriguing. A little perspective… Hitler was a bad guy. He invaded 11 countries and killed about 11 million people. From the point he was removed from power, the war ended, and just after we turned away Jewish refugees; the U.S. entered a time of peace and unprecedented prosperity. During that time, the time since the end of WWII, the United States has bombed over 30 countries that never attacked it and killed between 20-30 million people. We are who we fear.

    …And we give the state of Israel 10 million dollars a day to “defend themselves.”, that’s 40 billion per year to interact with humanity as they have been. This is an utter offense! To question the state of Israel is to be called an anti-semite. I am not an anti-semite, I am pro-human! The way the US defends the indefensible actions of Israel and vetoes every vote against Israel in the UN is without reason, morality, empathy, or respect for international law.

    WE ARE WHO WE FEAR.

    Matthew 7:3-5 (for Christians reading this)

  18. Professor says:

    The Serpent People are the most racists people on the planet. Not only do they call themselves “Gods Chosen”, they lie about everything including being a “Semite”. The real Semites are the Palestinians which makes the Serpent People anti-Semite. It is funny to see such great arrogance coming from blithering idiots.

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