A new survey has revealed high rates of doubt among Americans that Nazi Germany’s Jewish genocide really happened Jewish Holocaust victims are piled on a wagon at Germany’s Dora-Nordhausen concentration camp in April 1945. © Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Half of US adults under age 30 either believe that the Jewish Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany is a myth or are not sure that it happened, a new Economist/YouGov poll has revealed.
The poll, released on Friday, found that one in five Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 agree with the statement that “the Holocaust is a myth,” while 23% believe that it has been exaggerated. An additional 30% are unsure, while 51% of respondents disagree with the statement.
Overall, 7% of Americans deny that the Holocaust is real, while 16% are not fully convinced, the poll showed. Responses were divided sharply by age, with just 2% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 64 and less than 1% of those 65 and older saying the Holocaust did not happen. Americans also are divided on the issue by race, with Holocaust denial and doubts more than twice as high among blacks and Hispanics as whites. While 13% of blacks and 12% of Hispanics say the Jewish genocide is a myth, just 5% of whites agree with the statement.
US Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, said the poll’s results should not come as a surprise in the wake of congressional testimony this week in which the presidents of three elite universities declined to say that calling for a Jewish genocide would violate their codes of conduct. The Holocaust “plumbed the depths of evil and should never be allowed to happen again,” he said. “Congress must hold educators accountable to ensure it doesn’t.”
The poll’s findings come at a time when tensions over the Israel-Hamas war are reportedly triggering increased acts of harassment or violence against both Jews and Muslims in the US. Jewish students at major universities, such as Columbia and Cornell, have claimed that they feel unsafe as some protestors on their campuses praise the Hamas terrorist attacks and call for the elimination of Israel.
The conflict in Gaza also has put US President Joe Biden on a political tightrope as he tries to show strong support for Israel without alienating the pro-Palestinian voters in the Democratic Party. An Associated Press-NORC poll last month showed that nearly half of Democrats disagree with Biden’s handling of the crisis. Among those who found fault with their party’s leader, 58% said he was not being supportive enough of the Palestinians, while 13% said he was not backing Israel strongly enough.
Nearly 18,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began two months ago. Around 1,200 people were killed when Hamas fighters launched surprise attacks on villages in southern Israel on October 7, triggering the conflict.
The Economist/YouGov poll showed that 10% of Democrats believe the Holocaust is a myth, double the rate among Republican voters. The survey found an even sharper divide between residents of big cities and rural areas. While 14% of urban Americans say the Holocaust did not really happen, just 3% of respondents from rural communities agree with the statement.