Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It is a somber day where we pause to remember the six million Jews killed by the barbaric Nazi regime during World War II.
Sadly, many millennials haven’t been taught enough about the horrors of the Holocaust.
According to the Washington Post, “Two-thirds of American millennials surveyed in a recent poll cannot identify what Auschwitz is, according to a study released on Holocaust Remembrance Day that found that knowledge of the genocide that killed 6 million Jews during World War II is not robust among American adults.
Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it—twice the percentage of U.S. adults as a whole who said the same…
Asked to identify what Auschwitz is, 41 percent of respondents and 66 percent of millennials could not come up with a correct response identifying it as a concentration camp or extermination camp.”
The horrors at Auschwitz were unspeakable. Auschwitz was one of the main locations where the Nazis sent Jews to be murdered. Nearly all the prisoners who were sent to the extermination camp were killed (1.1 million of 1.3 million prisoners were murdered).
The Los Angeles Times reported, “In total, about 400,000 Holocaust survivors live around the world today, according to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. About 85,000 of those are in the U.S. The numbers drop significantly for those who were at Auschwitz. There are fewer than 2,000 surviving former Auschwitz prisoners, a quarter of whom reside in the U.S.”
Holocaust survivor Yevgeny Kovalev relayed the horrors he witnessed at Auschwitz. He described how prisoners were sent to into shower rooms only to be gassed and murdered once inside. He told the Associated Press: “Those people were civilians. None of them knew they would be burned. They went to decontamination, went into the wash house, were locked inside and the Zyklon gas came. In five to seven minutes, everyone was dead.”
The Jewish prisoners were told they were being taken to the showers to be decontaminated, only to be dead within minutes. Kovalev said that the crematoria worked around the clock. “Smoke came day and night and the smell was terrible.”
It is imperative that our education system, as well as ourselves personally, teach the children of this generation what happened during the Holocaust and how those horrors came to be. The youngest generations in our country are similarly unfamiliar with the history of communism. This has to end. We as citizens have to demand better of our schools, and we need to expect better of ourselves.
If we fail, the results could be another tragedy. We must pledge to each other that a Holocaust will never happen again.