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Tipsheet

CNN Poll Shows Widespread Anti-Semitism, Ignorance of the Holocaust in Europe

A recent CNN poll revealed widespread anti-Semitism and ignorance of the Holocaust in Europe. The poll, released Monday, found that over a quarter of Europeans think Jews have too much power in business and finance.

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Roughly 20 percent of those surveyed said Jews have too much influence in the media and too much influence in politics. Almost a quarter of those polled also said Jews had too much influence in wars.

While alarmingly high percentages of Europeans hold these beliefs, a third of them also said they knew “a little or nothing at all” about the Holocaust.

CNN noted that “lack of Holocaust knowledge is particularly striking among young people in France: One out of five people there between the ages of 18 and 34 said they’d never heard of it.”

Also in Austria, the birthplace of Hitler, 12 percent of young people surveyed said they’d “never heard of” the Holocaust. Forty percent of Austrian adults said they knew “just a little” about the Holocaust.

The survey was conducted by pollster ComRes on behalf of CNN and “interviewed more than 7,000 people across Europe, with more than 1,000 respondents each in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden.”

CNN also pointed out that Americans, particularly younger Americans, also struggle with knowledge of the Holocaust. In another recent survey, 10 percent of American adults and one in five millennials were not sure they’d ever heard of the Holocaust. Additionally, half of the millennials surveyed could not name a concentration camp.

Famed American historian Deborah Lipstadt, told CNN that their polling in Europe showed in "frightening detail, how traditional anti-Semitic motifs persist."

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"Stepping back from the specific findings of the study,” she emphasized, “it is imperative to note that anti-Semitism constitutes a conspiracy theory, i.e. an irrational evidence-free perspective that attributes to all Jews -- irrespective of their location, status, age, nationality, world view -- the same qualities and stereotypes. Anti-Semitism makes as much sense as attributing to all left-handed people or all blonds similar attributes and behaviors."

Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, told CNN that the poll’s results highlight “the troubling fact that many entrenched hateful anti-Semitic tropes persist in European civilization, 75 years after the end of the Holocaust."

"The result of this survey proves the necessity to intensify broad-based efforts in the area of Holocaust education and awareness, which is essential to any effort to contend with anti-Semitism," he added.

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