According to a recent study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany there is a "worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge" among millennials and Gen Z.
Each state had 200 people answer several questions about the Holocaust and Arkansas ranked as the least-knowledgeable state in America.
The general knowledge of the Holocaust was measured by how many respondents "definitely heard about the Holocaust," could name a concentration camp, death camp or ghetto, and know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Arkansas had a knowledge score of 17%, meaning that only 34 of the 200 Arkansans who participated in the survey knew answers to all three of these questions.
Overall, 59% of respondents believed something like the Holocaust could happen again.
There were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos established in World War II and only 44% of Arkansas respondents could name at least one. The top five named were Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Treblinka. All other camps named were less than 1 percent.
Nationally, 63% of millennials and Gen Z respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. In Arkansas, the number was 69%.
Upon further breakdown, 36% of the respondents thought that fewer than 2 million were murdered and Arkansas had the highest number believing this at 37% of respondents.
About half of Arkansas respondents had seen Holocaust denial, Nazi symbols or both on social media or in their communities. This statistic for the state is on par with the national response as a whole.
Holocaust denial is a growing concern as the survivors grow older and continue to die off. Without the survivors to tell their story, there is a concern the stories will die with them.
Another concerning statistic is the number of millennials and Gen Z respondents who believed the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust at some level. Nationally, the number was 11%, in Arkansas, the number was 12%.
On the other hand, 80% of national respondents believed that Holocaust education is important in schools in an effort to prevent another similar event from taking place. In Arkansas, the number is 86%.
"Quality Holocaust education helps students think critically about how and why the Holocaust happened," said Gretchen Skidmore, task force member and director of Education Initiatives at the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. "The study of the Holocaust engages students in understanding the fragility of societies, the dangers of antisemitism and hatred and the importance of promoting human dignity. This history can inform our understanding of our own roles and responsibilities in the decisions we face today."
Recently, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany launched a #NoDenyingIt campaign to ask Mark Zuckerberg to remove posts from Facebook that deny the Holocaust. The idea is to qualify denials as hate speech against survivors and their families.
More information about the Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness study can be found at www.claimscon.org.