Julius Berman, President of the Claims Conference, and Naomi Azrieli, CEO and Chair of the Azrieli Foundation, jointly announced the release of a comprehensive Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey of adults in Canada done in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation.
Similar to the April 2018 survey in the United States, the Canadian study found critical gaps both regarding awareness of historical basic facts and detailed knowledge of the Holocaust. For example, 54 percent of those surveyed did not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. And, while a significant majority of Canadian adults believe that fewer people care about the Holocaust today than they used to, there was a broad-based consensus for providing comprehensive Holocaust education in schools across the country.
Canadian perceptions of the neo-Nazi movement in the United States are quite disturbing. 47 percent of the Canadian respondents say there are a “great deal” or “many” neo-Nazis in the U.S. compared to only 17 percent who say there are a “great deal” or “many” neo-Nazis in Canada.
A task force, which was comprised of Holocaust survivors, as well as representatives from Holocaust museums, educational institutions, and leading nonprofits in the field of Holocaust education helped develop the survey questions. Participants in the task force included: the Azrieli Foundation, Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Claims Conference.
Naomi Azrieli says, “When we heard about the first Claims Conference study by Schoen in the U.S., we were keen to know how we were doing in Canada. I was shocked and disappointed to see the Canadian results. Clearly, there are holes in our education system that must be filled because as it stands now, we are not preparing the next generation to learn from the past.”
Julius Berman, Claims Conference President, noted, “Here we have yet another study showing that Holocaust education falls woefully short, and we must work together to correct this global issue. As International Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches, we are reminded of how important education is if we are to ensure that the atrocities of the Holocaust will never happen again.”
“The results of this study should cause great concern about Holocaust education and the gaps we have again uncovered,” commented Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference. “We must do all we can to educate about the horrors of the Holocaust; it is incumbent on us to ensure that those who suffered so greatly are remembered, while their stories are told and taught by future generations.”
The Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study was commissioned by the Azrieli Foundation in partnership with the Claims Conference. Data was collected in French and English and analyzed by Schoen Consulting with a representative sample of 1100 Canadian adults via landline, cell phone, and online interviews. Respondents were selected at random and constituted a demographically representative sample of the adult population in Canada.