January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Study of what Americans know about the Holocaust conducted by Pew Research Center…
Watchtowers surrounded by multiple high-voltage fences at Auschwitz II-Birkenau in Poland. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
As true disciples of Jesus Christ the Lord, God come to earth fully God, fully man, born of a virgin, born a Jew, lived as a Jew, condemned and rejected by His own, murdered by all of mankind as a Jew, resurrected from death as a Jew we ought not forget the Jews are God our Father’s first chosen people. I write this because I think far too many professing to be disciples of Jesus forget He was and remains a Jew. To this very moment as He stands at the right hand of the Throne of God in heaven. For a reminder of an earlier Holocaust study the history and events surrounding the Lord’s birth and what Herod did to all the male children two years of age and younger in the region. That, too, was a Holocaust. One in which evil attempted to kill Jesus as a young boy. Evil will never prevail or win. Evil will never alter or remove God’s plan, God’s work, God’s people, God’s eternal Word and righteous ways.
Though almost all have walked with stiff necks and scales over their eyes rejecting the True Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, seed of David, Son of God, only Redeemer, only Saviour, only way to the Father we ought not reject them or forget them and what they have endured through the ages — and through the awful evil of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s in Europe, Africa, Russia and the Middle East.
Let us not brush off or forget, or think we know that which we may not.
Let us not judge or dismiss history or any peoples.
May we show genuine Christ-love to any and all peoples we meet and may they taste the salt of the earth comprising us in our faith of the One True God and His Son, Jesus, and may we be a light unto the world as Jesus instructed all His disciples they are to be — not only those He spoke to in the flesh on His brief time on this earth — but He speaks to every and all true disciple from the moment those words left His tongue until this very moment, and beyond, until His Second Return.
Pray for the Jews. Not for those tragically lost in the Holocaust, for we are to never pray for the dead and gone, but let us pray for all Jews today, and those to be yet born that as they gather with great intent to remember the heinous atrocities of times past that some would allow their stiff-necks to be loosed, the scales to drop from their eyes, and that they would come to see Jesus as Lord. Jesus as the Messiah.
And let us pray daily and continually for Jews worldwide, and world leaders, and peoples worldwide that they would leave the path of this world leading to destruction and begin to walk on the narrow path of God’s righteousness and Word leading to life, because as unthinkable and horrendous as the Holocaust was what is to come will be so much worse that time will pale in comparison.
Not my opinion or words. What God’s word tells us is to come due to man and woman’s sin, increasing sin, increasing evil, increasing rejection of Him and His Son, Jesus, and what must come as a result.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:21 — King James Version
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.
Matthew 24:21 — New International Version
For then there will be great suffering, which has not been from the beginning of the world even until now, neither will be.
Matthew 24:21 — Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For at that time there will be great distress, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again.
Matthew 24:21 — Christian Standard Version
Redundant? Well, ignoring or denying the words spoken by God on earth, Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour does not mean they were not spoken, are not true, will not then happen. Perhaps today is the time to become repetitive in the study and faith in the Word of God and in Jesus Christ the Lord. To perhaps cease being someone belonging to a certain church, denomination, or calling oneself a Christian while not taking up the cross daily as a true disciple. No denomination. No specific church. No certain ethnicity or nationality, age, or excuse. Perhaps today is the time to become repetitive in belief. In faith. In repentance. In discipleship whether professed believer, heathen, unbeliever, Jew or Gentile. Perhaps today is the time — because this time this day is all the Lord has blessed us with. This heartbeat. This breath. We live in the future in our minds, or in the past — but this moment, this day, this hour, this heartbeat and present breath is what the Lord has given us. No more. Let us not waste, dismiss, neglect or squander. Please, dear ones, don’t ignore what is seen and known today. Do not get swept up in the vortex of daily worldly life thus losing your life in the process. For there will come a time of to late, oh, so sad and sorry, but to late…
Yes, let us remember the Holocaust. Let us learn and know this history better than most. Let us in so doing also learn and know the Word of God and the Biblical history we all live today and if blessed tomorrow…
…and let us pray continually to walk as in Psalm 25:21 — “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”
ACP — A Crooked Path
January 27th, 2020
What Americans Know About the Holocaust
January 22, 2020
Pew Research Center — Religion & Public Life
How we did this
Most U.S. adults know what the Holocaust was and approximately when it happened, but fewer than half can correctly answer multiple-choice questions about the number of Jews who were murdered or the way Adolf Hitler came to power, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
When asked to describe in their own words what the Holocaust was, more than eight-in-ten Americans mention the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people or other related topics, such as concentration or death camps, Hitler, or the Nazis. Seven-in-ten know that the Holocaust happened between 1930 and 1950. And close to two-thirds know that Nazi-created ghettos were parts of a city or town where Jews were forced to live.
Fewer than half of Americans (43%), however, know that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany through a democratic political process. And a similar share (45%) know that approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Nearly three-in-ten Americans say they are not sure how many Jews died during the Holocaust, while one-in-ten overestimate the death toll, and 15% say that 3 million or fewer Jews were killed.
This raises an important question: Are those who underestimate the death toll simply uninformed, or are they Holocaust deniers – people with anti-Semitic views who “claim that the Holocaust was invented or exaggerated by Jews as part of a plot to advance Jewish interests”?1
While the survey cannot answer this question directly, the data suggests that relatively few people in this group express strongly negative feelings toward Jews. On a “feeling thermometer” designed to gauge sentiments toward a variety of groups, nine-in-ten non-Jewish respondents who underestimate the Holocaust’s death toll express neutralor warm feelings toward Jews, while just one-in-ten give Jews a cold rating. Similar shares express cold feelings toward Jews among those who overestimate the number of Holocaust deaths (9%) and among those who say they do not know how many Jews died in the Holocaust or decline to answer the question (12%).
That said, respondents who get more questions right also tend to express warmer feelings toward Jews. For example, non-Jews who correctly answer at least three of the four multiple-choice questions about the Holocaust rate Jews at a relatively warm 67 degrees on the feeling thermometer, on average. By comparison, non-Jews who correctly answer one question or less (including those who get none right) rate their feelings toward Jews at 58 degrees, on average.
These are among the key findings of a survey conducted online Feb. 4 to 19, 2019, among 10,971 respondents. The study was conducted mostly among members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults recruited from landline and cellphone random-digit-dial surveys and an address-based survey), supplemented by interviews with members of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.
A previously published report on this survey explored the public’s answers to 32 knowledge questions about a wide range of religious topics, including the Bible and Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, atheism and agnosticism, and religion and public life. In addition to the 32 questions about religious topics, the survey included five factual questions to test knowledge of the Holocaust: one open-ended question and four multiple-choice questions.
The four multiple-choice questions also were included in a separate survey of approximately 1,800 U.S. teens (ages 13 to 17). Overall, the teens display lower levels of knowledge about the Holocaust than their elders do. Like the adults, however, teens fare best on the questions about when the Holocaust occurred and what ghettos were. About half or more of teens answer those questions correctly. By comparison, 38% of teens know that approximately 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust, and just one-third know that Hitler came to power through a democratic process. See here for details.
The Holocaust knowledge questions were designed to measure some basic facts about the Holocaust, including when it happened and who it involved. However, the questions were not meant to include all of the most essential facts about the Holocaust.
The open-ended question asked: “As far as you know, what does ‘the Holocaust’ refer to?” and invited respondents to write their answers in their own words. In response, two-thirds say the Holocaust refers to the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people, or words to that effect, mentioning the mass murder of Jews.
An additional 18% mention concepts that are more loosely associated with the Holocaust, including the general idea of death (6%), the persecution (but not murder) of Jews (4%), or just something about Jewish people (4%). This group also includes some respondents who reference Hitler, concentration camps, World War II, Nazis or persecution in general without mentioning Jews specifically.2
Just 3% of Americans mention something else, and an equal share say they don’t know. One-in-ten decline to answer the question.
Overall, the average respondent correctly answers about half (2.2) of the four multiple-choice Holocaust knowledge questions. Nearly half of Americans get at least three questions right, including one-quarter who correctly answer all four questions (24%). Roughly one-in-five respondents do not answer any of the Holocaust knowledge questions correctly, mainly because they say they are “not sure” about the answers to the questions.
Jews, atheists and agnostics get more questions right about the Holocaust
Jews (3.2), atheists (3.1) and agnostics (3.1) get the most questions right about the Holocaust, answering an average of at least three of the four questions correctly. (These groups also rank among those with the highest levels of overall religious knowledge.) Mainline Protestants, Mormons, Catholics, evangelical Protestants and Americans who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” correctly answer about half of the questions, while members of the historically black Protestant tradition get one out of four right, on average.
Nearly nine-in-ten U.S. Jews (90%), agnostics (90%) and atheists (87%) know that the Holocaust happened between 1930 and 1950. Similarly, an overwhelming majority of agnostics (87%), Jews (86%) and atheists (84%) know that ghettos were parts of a town or city where Jews were forced to live.
U.S. Jews are more likely than atheists and agnostics to know how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Nearly nine-in-ten Jews know that about 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, compared with two-thirds of agnostics (64%) and atheists (63%) who get this question right. By contrast, more atheists and agnostics than Jews correctly answer the question about how Hitler became chancellor of Germany: Three-quarters of atheists (76%) and seven-in-ten agnostics know Hitler became chancellor through a democratic political process, compared with 57% of Jews.
Education, visiting a Holocaust museum and knowing someone who is Jewish are strongly linked with Holocaust knowledge
In addition to religious affiliation, several other factors are associated with how much Americans know about the Holocaust. For example, college graduates get an average of 2.8 out of the four multiple-choice questions right, while those whose formal education ended with high school correctly answer 1.7 questions.
Another factor linked with how much Americans know about the Holocaust is whether respondents have ever visited a Holocaust memorial or museum. U.S. adults who say they have visited a Holocaust memorial or museum (27% of all respondents) correctly answer 2.9 questions right out of the four multiple-choice questions about the Holocaust. By comparison, those who have never visited a Holocaust memorial or museum answer 2.0 questions right, on average.
The survey included a question that asked respondents whether they personally know someone who is Jewish. Compared with those who say they do not know anyone who is Jewish, Americans who know a Jewish person answer about one additional question right, on average (2.6 vs. 1.5).
Older adults display slightly higher levels of Holocaust knowledge
There are modest differences in levels of knowledge about the Holocaust based on gender, race and ethnicity, age, and region. For example, men correctly answer 2.5 out of four multiple-choice questions, on average, while women get 1.9 right.3 And white respondents get an average of 2.5 questions right, compared with 1.2 questions among black adults and 1.7 questions among Hispanics.
In addition, Americans ages 65 and older correctly answer an average of 2.5 questions about the Holocaust, compared with 2.2 right answers among those under the age of 65. And U.S. adults who live in the West, Northeast and Midwest perform slightly better than those who live in the South.
U.S. teens’ levels of Holocaust knowledge similar to those of adults without post-secondary education
The four multiple-choice questions about the Holocaust also were included in a recent Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17.
Like adults, more teens know when the Holocaust occurred (57%) and what Nazi-created ghettos were (53%) than know how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust (38%) or how Hitler became chancellor of Germany (33%).
On average, teens correctly answer slightly fewer questions than U.S. adults do (1.8 vs. 2.2, on average). This may reflect disparities in education. Among adults, those with a college degree correctly answer about one question more than those with a high school degree or less. Of course, teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have not yet had a chance to pursue post-secondary education. Overall, U.S. teens correctly answer about the same number of questions (1.8, on average) as adults whose formal education ended with high school (1.7).
However, one difference between teens and adults is the relationship between gender and Holocaust knowledge. While adult men answer slightly more questions right than women, teen boys and girls correctly answer a similar number of questions about the Holocaust (1.8 each, on average).
Previous Holocaust knowledge surveys
The 2019 Pew Research Center survey is not the first research conducted to assess how much American adults know about the Holocaust. In 1993, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) published the results of a study regarding what U.S. adults and students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades knew about the Holocaust.4 And in 2018, the Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study, conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, asked American adults many of the same questions that were discussed in the 1993 report.
There are several important differences between Pew Research Center’s 2019 Holocaust knowledge questions and the other two surveys that make it so that they are not directly comparable (and thus unable to gauge whether levels of knowledge about the Holocaust have changed over time).
Even though some of the questions asked on the new survey are similar to those asked on previous surveys, these questions were not always asked in the exact same way. For example, all three surveys included a question asking approximately how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust. While the question wording was similar, Pew Research Center’s question included five response options listed from smallest to largest: “Less than 1 million,” “approximately 3 million,” “approximately 6 million,” “more than 12 million” or “not sure.” The AJC study and the Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study each included six response options listed from largest to smallest: “20 million,” “6 million,” “2 million,” “1 million,” “100,000” and “25,000.” (The AJC study included a “don’t know” option, while the Knowledge and Awareness Study included “other” and “not sure” options.) And while all three studies included an open-ended question asking respondents to describe in their own words what “the Holocaust” refers to, the responses were not necessarily coded using the same criteria.
The respondents also took the surveys in different ways. The 2019 Pew Research Center survey was administered online on the American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults. By contrast, the survey discussed in the 1993 AJC report was administered by interviewers in respondents’ homes. The 2018 Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study was administered mostly by interviewers over the phone, but also included some interviews administered online. Sometimes when the same question is asked in different modes, such as over the phone and online, there is a difference in results that is attributable to what survey methodologists call a mode effect. In other words, the presence of a live interviewer may encourage people to answer questions differently than they would if no one was observing their (self-recorded) responses.
- For more information, see United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Holocaust deniers and public misinformation.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. ↩
- Responses to this question were coded to prioritize knowledge of the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. For example, if a respondent said that the Holocaust refers to the attempted elimination of Jews by Hitler and his followers during World War II, that answer was coded into the “annihilation of Jews” category but not the Hitler or World War II categories. If the respondent did not mention Jews or the killing of Jews, the answer was coded to reflect any other aspects of the Holocaust that were mentioned (such as Nazis, Hitler or concentration camps) or the context in which the Holocaust occurred (for example, World War II). If a respondent mentioned more than one of these other aspects of the Holocaust (for example, “Hitler and the Nazis”), the first one mentioned was coded (in this example, Hitler). ↩
- Men get more questions right, even after controlling for religious affiliation, education level, race and ethnicity, age, region, and marital status. One possible reason that men correctly answer more religious knowledge questions than women do is that men tend to be more likely to guess, even when they are unsure about the correct answer to knowledge questions. ↩
- Golub, Jennifer, and Renae Cohen. 1993. “What Do Americans Know About the Holocaust?” American Jewish Committee. ↩
This report is a collaborative effort based on the input and analysis of the following individuals. Find related reports online at pewresearch.org/religion.
Becka A. Alper, Research Associate
Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion Research
Gregory A. Smith, Associate Director of Research
Besheer Mohamed, Senior Researcher
Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac, Senior Researcher
Kiana Cox, Research Associate
Claire Gecewicz, Research Associate
Editorial and Graphic Design
Michael Lipka, Editorial Manager
Aleksandra Sandstrom, Copy Editor
Bill Webster, Senior Information Graphics Designer
Communications and Web Publishing
Stacy Rosenberg, Associate Director, Digital
Travis Mitchell, Digital Producer
Anna Schiller, Communications Manager
Haley Nolan, Communications Associate
Others at Pew Research Center also gave valuable feedback on this report, including Claudia Deane, vice president of research; Nick Bertoni, panel manager; Andrew Mercer, senior research methodologist; and Arnold Lau, research analyst.
Pew Research Center also received valuable advice on this report from current and former staff at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, including Victoria Barnett and Rebecca Carter-Chand. Rabbi Andrew Baker at the American Jewish Committee also contributed.
Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University and author of “Religious Literacy,” provided expertise on the questionnaire.
While the analysis for this report was guided by our consultations with the advisers, Pew Research Center is solely responsible for the interpretation and reporting of the data.
This report is based mainly on a survey conducted on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP). The survey also included supplemental interviews with members of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel who identified as Jewish, Mormon or Hispanic Protestant.
The ATP and KnowledgePanel are national probability-based online panels of U.S. adults. Panelists participate via self-administered web surveys. On both the ATP and KnowledgePanel, panelists who do not have internet access are provided with an internet connection and device that can be used to take surveys. Interviews are conducted in both English and Spanish. The ATP is managed by Ipsos.
The survey was conducted Feb. 4 to 19, 2019. A total of 10,971 panelists responded out of 14,415 who were sampled, for a response rate of 76%. This included 10,429 from the ATP and 542 respondents sampled from KnowledgePanel. The cumulative response rate accounting for nonresponse to the recruitment surveys and attrition is 3.2%. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 10,971 respondents is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.
The ATP was created in 2014, with the first cohort of panelists invited to join the panel at the end of a large, national, landline and cellphone random-digit-dial survey that was conducted in both English and Spanish. Two additional recruitments were conducted using the same method in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Across these three surveys, a total of 19,718 adults were invited to join the ATP, of which 9,942 agreed to participate.
In August 2018, the ATP switched from telephone to address-based recruitment. Invitations were sent to a random, address-based sample (ABS) of households selected from the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File. In each household, the adult with the next birthday was asked to go online to complete a survey, at the end of which they were invited to join the panel. For a random half-sample of invitations, households without internet access were instructed to return a postcard. These households were contacted by telephone and sent a tablet if they agreed to participate. A total of 9,396 were invited to join the panel, and 8,778 agreed to join the panel and completed an initial profile survey. Of the 18,720 individuals who have ever joined the ATP, 13,512 remained active panelists and continued to receive survey invitations at the time this survey was conducted.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File has been estimated to cover as much as 98% of the population, although some studies suggest that the coverage could be in the low 90% range.5
KnowledgePanel has used a combination of random-digit dialing (RDD) and address-based sampling (ABS) methodologies to recruit panel members (in 2009, KnowledgePanel switched its sampling methodology for recruiting members from RDD to ABS).
KnowledgePanel continually recruits new panel members throughout the year to offset attrition (that is, people who leave the panel).
The data was weighted in a multistep process that begins with a base weight incorporating the respondents’ original survey selection probability and the fact that in 2014 and 2017 some respondents were subsampled for invitation to the panel. The next step in the weighting uses an iterative technique that aligns the sample to population benchmarks on the dimensions listed in the accompanying table. For this wave, religious affiliation was added as a weighting dimension in order to account for the oversampling of various religious groups.
Sampling errors and tests of statistical significance take into account the effect of weighting. Interviews are conducted in both English and Spanish, but the American Trends Panel’s Hispanic sample is predominantly U.S. born and English speaking.
In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:
Details about the methods used in the survey of U.S. teens are available here.