News Brief

Poll shows majority of Brits Ignorant of Holocaust death totals

The majority of British adults don’t know that 6 million Jewish people were murdered in Holocaust, or they believe the number killed to be much less than this confirmed historical facts, according to the results of a poll conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a British non-profit organization.

The study, published to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day over the weekend, also showed that 5% of 2,000 people who participated in the survey don’t believe the genocide actually happened. A total of 8% of respondents believe the scope of the World War II Holocaust to be overestimated, according to the poll.

Threats of rising Anti-Semitism caught the world’s attention after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October 2018, where the gunman murdered 12 people and injured 7 during Shabbat morning service.

The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency study published last year asked European Jews in 12 countries their views on anti-Semitism. Hundreds of Jews polled said they had experienced a physical, anti-Semitic attack in the past year.

In Great Britain, the situation is also serious, Jewish organizations say. Among the participants in the British poll, 45% said they did not know how many people were killed in the Holocaust, while another 19% believe fewer than 2 million Jews were murdered.

The Kremlin-aligned news channel RT republished the British pollresults as a platform from which the channel’s anchors could discuss anti-Semitism around the world — but without discussing similar attitudes in Russia.

Jewish Russian activists have been working for years to memorialize 27,000 Nazi victims killed in Rostov on Don in 1942, but Russian authorities have stood in their way. These local activists say the authorities’ intransigence is rooted in anti-Semitism.

Holocaust awareness numbers published in the UK study compares with a poll conducted by the broadcaster CNN in late 2018 in late 2018 which revealed that one-third of Europeans surveyed were very slightly familiar with the Holocaust or have no knowledge of it at all.

Olivia Marks-Woldman who works at the British Holocaust Memorial Trust believes that the British people who are ignorant of the numbers of Jews killed by the Nazis aren’t Holocaust deniers, but instead they are “susceptible to myths and distortions.” The solution, she says, is more education.

According to the poll published over the weekend, 83% of the British respondents acknowledge the importance of Holocaust and 76% of those surveyed consider education to have an essential role in it.