The Holocaust is a myth, a quarter of Dutch younger generation agree

With antisemitism on the rise and Holocaust denial more widespread, the young population in the Netherlands has been placing doubts on facts.

National Holocaust Museum Amsterdam 2016 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
National Holocaust Museum Amsterdam 2016
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A new study published on Thursday finds significant gaps in Holocaust knowledge and awareness in the Netherlands, as well as widespread concern that Holocaust denial and distortion are problems there today. The study found that almost a quarter (23%) of Dutch millennials and Gen Z respondents believe the Holocaust is a myth, or that it occurred but the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated – the highest percentage among these cohorts in six countries that were surveyed.

According to the surveys done previously among these age groups, the percentage of young citizens that think the Holocaust is a myth is as follows: 16% in Austria and Canada, 23% in France, and 15% in the UK and the US.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) commissioned Schoen Cooperman Research to conduct a comprehensive national study on Holocaust knowledge and awareness in the Netherlands. It conducted 2,000 interviews across the country.
It was also found that 29% of Dutch respondents, including 37% of Dutch millennials and Gen Zs believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Moreover, despite the fact that more than 70% of the Netherlands’ Jewish population perished during the Shoah, a majority of Dutch respondents (53%), including 60% of these two cohorts, do not cite their country as one of those where the Holocaust took place. Finally, more than half (53%) of Dutch respondents believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again today.

Widespread belief that Holocaust numbers were "exaggerated"

Another worrying finding was that, when asked whether they knew people who believe the Holocaust did not happen, almost one-quarter (24%) of Dutch respondents, including almost a third (32%) of millennials and Gen Z, say they know at least a few people who believe the Holocaust did not happen.

Anne Frank at her writing table in 1940; how many Anne Franks were lost in the Holocaust? (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Anne Frank at her writing table in 1940; how many Anne Franks were lost in the Holocaust? (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
After a brief description of Holocaust denial, 62% Dutch respondents say that Holocaust denial is a problem today, including 55% of the two young age groups.
Almost all respondents (94%) had heard of Anne Frank before the survey. A large percentage were aware that she was a victim in the Holocaust (89%), but this number appears to drop off regarding some key facts, including her age when she died (81%) and that she died in Bergen Belsen (73%).