Percentage of Americans who don't know about the Holocaust is "shocking and saddening"

A concentration camp is not necessarily for mass murder. The British used concentration camps in some of their actions in their empire. The camps on the southern border housing ICE detainees are concentration camps. There is a distinction and in he case of Auschwitz, it was used as both. It was a huge complex.

For some reason, people think knowledge that isn’t science-based is different and doesn’t need as much thought, care, or acceptance of complexity. :woman_shrugging: They think, in other words, it’s not as important as other fields and we can simplify it, despite the complexity that exists in history, and we’ll be fine…

It really doesn’t help that history as a field of knowledge is constantly being belittled. Or that less people go into the field because it’s not considered something people can “make money” at, as if that’s the only thing that matters. That’s probably a the root of this, more than almost anything else. Education has become job training rather than… educating.


This is probably too late, because everyone seems to have read the headline, got outraged, and left, but anyway.
The headline is very misleading. If you read the actual survey, you see that only 45% of Americans know how many Jews were murdered.
They actually found that 84% of the Americans that they asked, had at least a basic idea of what the Holocaust was.
From TFA:

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.

So it’s not quite as bad as all the headlines have been making out.

If you read an emotive headline, think about why it might have been phrased that way, and try and find the original sources if you can.


As a German I often find myself in discussions with US denialists or ignorants on the web, where I have to tell about my Nazi grandfather.

The everyday go along type, not fanatic, not black clad SS guy, but regular joe cheering in the streets on parades, voting NSDAP and being the fundament of fascism.

This saddens very much as it leaves the impression that strangely the Germans seem to be the only ones that will care anymore if we reach the point where a century has passed.


We see this writ large in Russia vis-a-vis the West. They responded to neoliberal globalism enabling the sell-off of former Soviet industries to foreign and domestic oligarchs by electing a fascist thug who fed off their resentment and promised to at least tame the latter.

That’s a good point. I hope that old German Nazis dying (not all living memories are beneficial to society) will help hasten that downward trend you’re discussing.

The only other substantive change I can think of that affects Germany is the global refugee crisis. Germany’s leadership has stood out for its generosity in that regard, but bigots and ultra-nationalists have taken that as an opportunity to spread their message of fear and hate.

That and a re-dedication to the laws and norms and study of history for which post-war Germany is famous. The fight against fascism is an on-going project, and when economic times are hard or there are serious crises affecting society that fight has to be re-doubled and renewed. I hope that Germany sees that and will spare themselves further embarrassment.


I agree, and once you’re talking about millions of people being killed in a genocide or war that should suffice. But there are good reasons for specifying numbers in some cases, and the Shoah – a fully industrialised programme of extermination perpetrated by a modern advanced nation-state perpetrated against a people who were and are historically persecuted – is one of them.


Only they haven’t. What the Nazis did was industrial murder. Sit back and think about that for a second, what that entails, how it works, what machines and administrative procedures have to be invented solely to kill humans on an industrial scale.

There have been atrocities that have been as brutal (in Rwanda for example) or comparable in scale (the Khmer Rouge or Stalin’s purges) but none that quite reached that pinnacle of horribleness.


Which country is that?

Maus is an amazing work and should be read by everyone.


They’re very obviously not the same, but they are both bad for some identical and some different reasons.

I don’t think that because the Nazis were particularly methodical with their exploitation and murder it makes other murderous systems any less horrible. In any case, ranking the horribleness of murderous regimes on a gradiant is not an undertaking that will lead to great insights I think.

Are you talking about ranked voting? I know of no one who can explain ranked voting to me. The commercials aren’t working.
I’m in the US where it is used but not near me.

Try this.

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I am perpetually astonished when people who should know better demonstrate a complete non-grasp of history. Just the other day a well educated person I respect very much (my wife) patiently explained to my 10 year old that Pearl Harbor was a retaliation for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I almost fell out of my chair. Then we had a long conversation.


I wonder how many Americans know about the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese on the Chinese?


Plenty of Americans have probably read this book:


I’m one. Not the book though.

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To be fair, I actually don’t know the names of any concentration camps besides Auschwitz off the top of my head, although perhaps with multiple choice format I would get some correct if they excited some faded linkages. History was my best subject in high school, and likely I would get more right closer to back then, but the details fade with disuse. Disuse is caused by capitalism largely involving highly repetitious “cog in the machine” jobs with increasingly focused and specialized knowledge domains required. I still read about history in my free time, occasionally, but as a working person outside of a structured “survey course” context I get to read about whatever ultra-narrow niche topic I want to.

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