A new study has revealed startling attitudes in Europe towards the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.
Incredibly, 40 percent of young German adults stated that they know “little or nothing” about the Holocaust, 20% of young French adults had never heard of it and 12 percent of young Austrian adults, the country of Hitler’s birth, had never heard of the Shoah.
Given the amount of Holocaust education globally the results are truly astonishing with a third of Europeans saying they know either ‘just a little’ or nothing at all of the Holocaust.
But Europeans wanted to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
Two-thirds said commemorating the Holocaust would ensure such atrocities will never happen again and that figure rises to 80% in Poland.
However, a third of Europeans said commemorating the Holocaust distracted from other atrocities with higher than average numbers of Germans, Austrians, Poles and Hungarians stating that notion.
Stereotypically, the poll demonstrated great concern in that over a quarter of Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance.
A further 20 percent feel that Jews have too much influence in the media and the same number believe Jews have too much influence in politics.
And 20 percent say anti-Semitism in their countries was a response to the everyday behaviour of Jewish people.
Over 7,000 adults (aged 18-34) across seven European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden) were interviewed as part of the CNN/ComRes poll.
Clarissa Ward, CNN Chief International Correspondent, worked on the investigation.
“The results are shocking and indicate deeply held prejudices against Jews not only persist but are widespread,” she said.
“The lack of knowledge about the Holocaust is particularly surprising, given that tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors are still alive and the Second World War ended less than 75 years ago.”
The investigation also looked at attitudes towards Israel, revealing a mixed picture.
A slight but solid majority of Europeans, 54%, believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state.
A third of survey respondents believe criticism of Israel tends to be motivated by anti-Semitism, while only one in five say it does not.
A third of those surveyed said Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions and a third of Europeans believe supporters of Israel use accusations of anti-Semitism to shut down criticism of the country.
And over a quarter of respondents stated that most anti-Semitism in their countries was a response to the actions of the State of Israel.
Many respondents said anti-Semitism is a growing problem in their countries with 40% stating that Jews were at risk of racist violence in their countries and half holding the viewpoint that their governments should do more to fight anti-Semitism.
Many taking part in the survey overestimated the number of Jews in the world.
Only seven percent of respondents identified that Jews made up under one percent of the global population while one in seven people polled thought Jews made up over 20% of the world’s population.
There were also extremely worrying attitudes towards other minorities aside from Jews.
While 10% of Europeans admitted =unfavourable views about Jews, 16% had negative views of LGBT+ people, 36% on immigrants, 37% regarding Muslims and 39% about Romany people.
The results feature in a special TV feature, airing on CNN International on Friday.
Featuring key findings, on the ground reporting, guest perspectives and worldwide reaction, the show brings together a detailed CNN investigation.