In France, a fifth of young people ‘have never heard of the Holocaust’, survey reveals

A third of Europeans say they know either ‘just a little’ or nothing at all about the events of 75 years ago


A fifth of French young adults have never heard of the Holocaust, according to the startling conclusions of a survey on an antisemitism conducted across Europe.

The investigation found antisemitic attitudes were pervasive across the continent, with many believing Jews had “too much” influence in business, finance, politics and the media.

Responding to questions posed for CNN by the pollster Comres, a third of all Europeans said they knew “just a little” or nothing at all about the Holocaust.

The figure was even higher among young people.

In Germany, which has spent decades educating generations on the horrors of its wartime past, 40 per cent of young adults said they knew “little or nothing about the Holocaust.

Meanwhile in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population, 20 per cent of young adults said they had never heard of it.

“The results are shocking, and indicate deeply held prejudices against Jews not only persist but are widespread,” said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, who worked on the investigation.

“The lack of knowledge about the Holocaust is particularly surprising, given that tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors are still alive and the Second World War ended less than 75 years ago.”

The survey — which was completed before last month’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 worshippers dead — revealed a mixed picture of attitudes in which:

  • Many Europeans radically overestimate the number of Jews in the world;
  • More than half think their governments needed to do more to fight antisemitism;
  • A quarter of respondents believe antisemitism is a response to the actions of Israel.

A small majority of Europeans — 54 per cent — believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state, although a third believe the country uses the Holocaust to justify its actions.

Only 7% of respondents were correct that Jews make up under 1% of the global population.

One in seven people polled thought Jews made up more than 20 per cent of the world’s population — which would amount to 1.44 billion people.

In fact, the latest estimate is that there are 14.7 million Jews in the world, or less than 1 per cent of the global population. Only 7 percent of survey respondents correctly reached this figure.

ComRes interviewed 7,092 adults for CNN in seven countries in Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Sweden and Austria in September 2018.

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