According to a new survey released on Thursday by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, fully 41 percent of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz was, including two-thirds of Millennials. Approximately 22 percent of Millennials had not heard of the Holocaust, and 41 percent of Millennials thought 2 million or fewer Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
This is troubling stuff.
It’s also informative, because it helps explain just why younger Americans seem so comfortable embracing identity politics and large, intrusive government. If you’d never heard of the genocide of the Jews by an all-encompassing state focused laserlike on race-based differences between people, you might be warmer to the notion that racial hierarchies in politics ought to exist. You might also be warmer to the claims of genocidal Islamist terror groups who claim that Israel is a land of victimizers. And if you’d never heard of the Soviet Union, you might be more sanguine about the possibility of socialism in the United States.
This is just one reason why teaching of history in America’s public schools matters so much. But that teaching in recent decades has revolved not around signal events in world history, but around the revisionist histories of Leftist advocates like Howard Zinn, who focus in tremendous detail on the sins of America without spelling out the true history of alternatives to the American way throughout the 20th century.
Thursday marks Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Clearly the West is doing a pretty awful job of remembering just what happened just two generations ago, given its decision to look the other way at rising anti-Semitism in Europe and to side with the enemies of Israel in the state’s existential fight against genocidal Jew-hatred.