Only one-third of the world believes 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Monday was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. Every year on this day, Israelis observe a two-minute moment of silence to pay tribute to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.
Here at dose, we posted this image to our Facebook page to commemorate the holiday:
Though many of the comments were respectful of the pain and suffering the Jewish people endured during World War II, there were a few too many people who seemed to deny that the Holocaust happened.
“6 million didn’t die it was all a lie,” said one commenter.
“The holocaust started because of zionist Jews and the NWO [New World Order],” said another.
“Ahh yes, we must remember the time period in which Germany chemically treated the clothing of prisoners in labor camps with pesticides to stop the spread of typhus, which was transmitted through lice,” said yet another, sarcastically. “The horror of it all…”
But it’s not just random commenters on OMGFacts’ Facebook page that think the deadliest genocide in history never happened.
In 2014, in a massive survey of over 50,000 people in 100 different countries, the Anti-Defamation League found that only 33% of the world knew what the Holocaust was and believed it had been “accurately described by history.” (Yes, tons of people have never heard of the Holocaust in the first place, which is problematic, to put it mildly).
Those who said it had not been “accurately described” told the Anti-Defamation League’s researchers that they thought it was either a myth or that it had been exaggerated.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Holocaust denial and distortion were found to be much higher. 60% of those surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa who were aware of the Holocaust told surveyors they thought it had either been hyperbolized or completely made up.
60% sounds unbelievable until you look at the what Middle Eastern politicians and religious leaders are telling people. The governments of countries like Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority have all either flirted with the idea that the Holocaust never happened or simply said it outright. For example, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who is the country’s most powerful political leader, said at a major speech in 2014 that the “Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain.”
In the Western world, the hoax theory has gained a following. The Anti-Defamation League’s survey found that 11% of Western Europe?—?where the Holocaust occurred?—?think it was either a hoax or an exaggeration.
In the US, Holocaust denial has been found to be relatively low, but America, too, has its deniers. Each of the three commenters quoted at the beginning of this article live in the States.
The US has more prominent deniers, too. David Duke, the former KKK leader, has said that gas chambers weren’t used to kill Jews during WWII. Duke was a member of the Louisiana state government in the 90s, and ran for an even more prominent position?—?US Senator?—?last year. (Duke also endorsed Trump for president and said Trump’s election was “one of the most exciting nights of [his] life”).
So why do so many people deny that the Nazis systematically killed six million Jews in the 1930s and 40s?
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC says on its website that Holocaust denial and distortion are “generally motivated by hatred of Jews” and are used to “reduce perceived public sympathy to Jews.”
With the rise of social media, Holocaust denial has become more visible than ever. Meanwhile, Holocaust survivors are dying off. Soon, they’ll all be gone, and we’ll have no living testament to the horrors that Nazi Germany and its allies perpetrated.
That means that in the future, it will become more important than ever to preserve the historical record and to educate the world about the Holocaust.