One in four young people in the Netherlands believe the Holocaust was a myth

The study also shows the majority of Dutch adults don’t know the Holocaust occurred in the Netherlands


More than half of Dutch people do not know that six million Jews died in the Holocaust with Millennials and Gen Z even more ignorant of the true figure.

A new survey reveals that 54 per cent of adults in the Netherlands were unaware of the six million death toll, rising to 59 per cent in the Millennial and Generation Z bracket.

The survey showed a disturbing lack of awareness of key historical facts about the Holocaust and the Netherlands’ own connection to Holocaust history.

More than one quarter (29 per cent) of all respondents, and 37 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z, believed two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Shoah.

Nearly a third of Millennials and Gen Z and more than a quarter of all adults surveyed did not know Dutch citizen Anne Frank died in a concentration camp.

The survey of 2,000 Dutch adults was carried out by the US-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The survey defines Millennials and Gen Z as respondents under 40 years of age.

The number of respondents who believed the Holocaust is a myth or exaggerated was higher in the Netherlands than any country previously surveyed – 23 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z and 12 per cent of all adults.

A majority (53 per cent of all adults and 60 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z) did not cite their own country as a country where the Holocaust took place.

Almost a third (31 per cent of all respondents) were unable to name a single one of the more than 40,000 camps or ghettos established during the Second World War, despite the Netherlands having several transit camps from which Dutch Jews were sent on to camps like Auschwitz. While 60 per cent of respondents could name Auschwitz, this dropped to 52 per cent with Millennials and Gen Z.

More than a fifth (22 per cent) of Millennials and Gen Z feel it was acceptable for an individual to support neo-Nazi views, while 13 per cent were unsure.

When asked whether they support or oppose efforts by Dutch public figures to acknowledge and apologise for the Netherlands’ failure to protect Jews during the Holocaust, 44 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z support the idea, with only half of all respondents in favour of recent efforts.

But more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents said it was important to continue to teach about the Holocaust, while 53 per cent believed something like the Holocaust could happen again.

Conference President Gideon Taylor said: “Survey after survey, we continue to witness a decline in Holocaust knowledge and awareness. Equally disturbing is the trend towards Holocaust denial and distortion.

“To address this trend, we must put a greater focus on Holocaust education in our schools globally. If we do not, denial will soon outweigh knowledge, and future generations will have no exposure to the critical lessons of the Holocaust.”

Max Arpels Lezer, a Dutch Holocaust survivor, said: “I am upset and deeply concerned by these findings, that many of my countrymen do not even know their own national history. Without education, future generations will not understand the full impact of the Holocaust in my country. It is of utmost importance for us who survived that the future generations carry forward our testimonies even when we are gone.”

Matthew Bronfman, Claims Conference Task Force Chairman, said: “Now more than ever, we need to be lending support to teachers in their current efforts around Holocaust education and expanding their resources so we do not lose this battle to the detractors.”

The survey was commissioned by theConference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, using a representative sample of 2,000 interviews with adults aged 18 and over between 1 and 20 December, 2022 across the Netherlands. The margin of error is +/- 2 per cent.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive