According to a study carried out in 31 countries, only 47% of young people feel they are either quite or very knowledgeable about the extermination of the Jews during the Second World War. The results of the study were presented in Paris on Wednesday. The study, entitled “Mémoires à venir” polled 31,172 young people aged 16-29 in 23 European countries, and also in Australia, Canada, China, the US, India, Israel, Japan and Turkey, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
The term “genocide” was used with varying frequency to describe certain events: the Nazi extermination of the Jews by 90% of teenagers or young adults, for the slaughter of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 (77%) and for Tutsi killings by the Hutu regime in Rwanda in 1994 (76%).
This survey does, however, highlight big differences in the way events are perceived in different countries. In comparison to the 88% of young Israelis who have extensive knowledge of the Holocaust, the figure is only 20% among young people in Japan. In France, where a rise of anti-Semitism has led to increased Jewish emigration to Israel over the past two years the figure (49%) is higher than t most other countries (47%), but slightly below of the average of the European Union (53%).
A high proportion (88%) of 16-29-year-olds in France, however, feel that the Nazi extermination of the Jews is actually the most significant topic relating to World War II, a substantially higher figure than in United States (60%) and Germany (73%). Not surprisingly, Japan cites the first ever use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (81%) a most significant in relation to WWII, and Russia, the capture of Berlin by Soviet forces in 1945 (84%).