Members of the Jewish community in north London .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Just under a quarter of British 18-to-35-year-olds believe another Holocaust might happen in their lifetime, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll of 505 people, commissioned by the European Jewish Congress (EJC), also found that almost 60 percent of those questioned were unaware that six million Jews died during the Holocaust.
The survey – carried out by Suration in preparation for an emergency Pan European summit, in cooperation with the European Union, on January 26 in Prague – was aimed at securing views of young British people across a range of subjects, including anti-Semitism and racism.
A shade under 53% acknowledge that anti-Semitism
is present in the UK today, and a worrying 15% agree with a suggestion that laws should be passed requiring Jews to carry identification showing their religion. A further 18% said they do not know whether legislation calling on Jews to carry some form of identity card is necessary, but all the same favor the introduction of laws requiring businesses owned by Jews to show some special identification.
The comparative figure of those favoring legislation to force Muslim businesses to self-identify is 21%.
The EJC said these particular questions were based on the kind of discrimination introduced by the Nazis in the Nuremberg Laws which were aimed at initially identifying, then ostracizing and eventually eliminating, Jews in Europe.
When the 18-to-35-year-olds were asked if they thought such laws might be introduced in Europe, 25% indicated it is likely.
Forty-two percent knew that six million Jews died, but 30% thought the figure was a million or below, and another 28% said they did not know or that the evidence was not sufficiently clear.
A third had no idea who Adolf Eichmann was, and while 65% are satisfied that there is sufficient proof about the Holocaust, 15% said to the contrary, and a further 20% “don’t know.”
Of those whose history lessons included the Holocaust, 51% said the Holocaust was a most important event, while among those who had not formally studied the Holocaust, only 23% said it was a most important event.
EJC president Moshe Kantor said that the most worrying aspect of the survey is that a repeat of the Holocaust is no longer “something outside of our wildest nightmares.”
“The fact that one in five or six British respondents would want to enact discriminatory laws against Jews and Muslims and force them to be openly identified and stigmatized, as Jews were in Nazi Germany, should shock us into action” he said, adding: “These shocking results demonstrate that now more than ever, we need actions to prevent a further descent into anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”
Referring to the forthcoming Prague Summit, he concluded: “We need to...
discuss strong and robust measures to combat anti-Semitism, discrimination and hate and a practical road map that deals holistically with all the threats and utilizes all tools available.”