Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018..
(photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
One in 20 people in the United Kingdom don’t believe the Holocaust really took place, according to a poll. This finding indicates there could be more than 3 million Holocaust deniers living in Britain in 2019.
This staggering statistic is part of the findings of a survey conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, and released Sunday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
According to the survey, which polled more than 2,000 people, 8% of British adults believe the scale of the Holocaust has been exaggerated. And 64% of those polled either didn’t know how many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust or grossly underestimated the figure. Almost 20% believed that less than 2 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, while 45% said they didn’t know the answer. Historians widely hold that approximately 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
In England, public schools are legally mandated to teach the Holocaust to pupils. Such a requirement does not exist in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, although it is believed to be widely taught there.
“Such widespread ignorance and even denial is shocking,” said Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the government-funded Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. “Without a basic understanding of this recent history, we are in danger of failing to learn where a lack of respect for difference and hostility to others can ultimately lead. With a rise in reported hate crime in the UK and ongoing international conflicts with a risk of genocide, our world can feel fragile and vulnerable. We cannot be complacent.”
The survey also found that 83% of respondents said it is important to learn about the Holocaust, and 76% believe more must be done in terms of Holocaust education.
“I find these figures terribly worrying,” said Holocaust survivor Steven Frank, who lived through three concentration camps.
“At one of my talks, I met someone who said the Holocaust didn’t happen. The only way to fight this kind of denial and antisemitism is with the truth – I tell people what happened, what I saw and what I experienced. Education is so important. If we ignore the past, I fear history will repeat itself.”
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