A third of Europeans have never heard of the Holocaust or know “just a little” about it, a major CNN poll can reveal.
In Poland, the location of Auschwitz, 32 percent of 18-34 year olds know nothing or “just a little” about the Holocaust. Whilst in France, one out of five people between 18-34 said they have never heard of the Holocaust.
The shocking poll also shows that 28% of Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance, and 20% believe the same for the media.
Nearly a third believe Jewish people use the Holocaust to advance their position or to achieve certain goals, including 50% of Polish respondents.
Meanwhile, 16 percent of Europeans polled thought Jews made up more than 20% of the world’s population. The real figure is in fact only 0.2% of the world’s population
ComRes interviewed 7,092 adults online in 7 different countries between 7-20 September 2018 – more than 1000 people each in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden.
In Austria — the country where Hitler was born — 12% of young people said they had never heard of the Holocaust. Austria also had the highest number of people in the survey saying they knew “just a little” about the Holocaust. Four out of 10 Austrian adults said that.
Across Europe, half of respondents said they know “a fair amount” about the Holocaust, while only one out of five people said they know “a great deal.”
But Europeans do believe it is important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
Two-thirds of Europeans said that commemorating the Holocaust helps ensure that such atrocities will never happen again. That figure rises to 80% in Poland, where the Nazis established Auschwitz, the deadliest concentration camp of all.
Half of Europeans said commemorating the Holocaust helps fight anti-Semitism today.
But at the same time, a third of Europeans said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals. The same number disagreed and nearly a third of respondents expressed no opinion.
Anti-Semitism and Israel
Attitudes sharpened when it comes to the relationship between the Holocaust, Israel, Jews and anti-Semitism.
A slight but solid majority of Europeans — 54% — said Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state, with the figure rising to two-thirds in Poland.
A third of survey respondents believe that criticism of Israel tends to be motivated by anti-Semitism, while only one in five said it does not.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview that he is “concerned” about the results of CNN’s investigation into European attitudes toward Jews.
“I’m concerned, because I think anti-Semitism is an ancient disease and when it rears its ugly head, it first attacks the Jews, but it never stops with that, and then it sweeps entire societies, as happened obviously in mid-century Europe,” he told CNN’s Oren Liebermann. “First in Germany and then throughout all of Europe and the consequences were horrible.”
Netanyahu focused much of his criticism of European anti-Semitism from what he dubbed “new anti-Semitism,” which he differentiated from the “old anti-Semitism in Europe that came from the extreme right.”
“There’s also new anti-Semitism that comes from the extreme left and also the radical Islamic pockets in Europe that spew forth these slanders and lies about Israel, the only democracy in this entire region, the only one that has the courts, human rights, rights for all religions, gays, everything, I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” he said.