NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 10:36
Minister Yesilgöz of Justice and Security is shocked by the results of an American investigation into knowledge about the Holocaust in the Netherlands.
A study by the American organization Claims Conference gives the impression that the knowledge of young Dutch people about the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War is poor.
The researchers conclude that more than half of the Dutch respondents do not know exactly that six million Jews were murdered during the war. 12 percent of the population as a whole say that this number is greatly exaggerated or even that the Holocaust is a myth, according to the researchers. According to the researchers, this is 23 percent among people under the age of 40.
The broken down figures from the researchers:
Three percent of all respondents think the Holocaust is a myth. This is 6 percent among people under the age of 40.
Of all respondents, 9 percent think that the number of deaths as a result of the Holocaust is greatly exaggerated, among those under 40 this is 17 percent.
The Claims Conference organization, which fights for reparations to Holocaust survivors, previously conducted the study in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Canada. According to the researchers, the Netherlands has the highest percentage of respondents who deny that the Holocaust took place or think that the figures are exaggerated.
Minister Yesilgöz calls the results shocking and very serious. “As a society, we have a lot of work to do. And quickly,” she tweeted.
Claims Conference commissioned the study from the American research agency Schoen Cooperman Research. 2000 Dutch people aged 18 and older participated in the survey, which was conducted in December last year.
According to Claim Conference, the group of people surveyed is representative of the Dutch population.
The researchers state that the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among the Dutch is generally great, but they are particularly concerned about the knowledge among young people.
More than half of all respondents think that the Holocaust did not take place in the Netherlands and 63 percent of the respondents under the age of 40 think so. A majority of the respondents could not name a Dutch transit camp, such as Kamp Westerbork or Kamp Amersfoort.
Despite the fact that Anne Frank’s name is known to 89 percent of the respondents, 27 percent of them do not know that she died in a concentration camp. The Claims Conference calls those figures “alarming,” also because 22 percent of people under 40 say it’s acceptable for individuals to support Nazi views.
‘Education is important’
Nevertheless, more than three-quarters of the Dutch people surveyed think it is important to learn about the Holocaust. The Anne Frank House also advocates “the importance of Holocaust education”. “It is extremely important that young people learn about the Holocaust at school. How democracy and the rule of law were put out of action, people were excluded from society, deported and murdered. Anne Frank’s life story contains all these elements,” says the foundation.
Apparently we have been too lax. These results do not lie.
Eddo Verdoner, National Coordinator for Countering Anti-Semitism
“It is a shocking result,” says Eddo Verdoner, the National Coordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism, in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal. He cites disinformation on social media as an important cause of the lack of knowledge among young people.
“Those conspiracy theories that keep being shot into the world, they take on a life of their own. And many of those conspiracy theories are about the Holocaust. And if you then see that 23 percent of young people, those are of course also the people who are very much social media, thinking that the holocaust is exaggerated or a myth, then you can only conclude that it is because of this.”
According to Verdoner, we have thought for too long that things were going well in the Netherlands. “Of course we have history with Anne Frank and the Holocaust has hit the Netherlands relatively speaking the worst, relatively speaking the largest number of Jews have been deported here. I think we have thought for too long ‘it has really been shared, everyone is on the aware of what happened’. But apparently we have been too lax. These results do not lie.”
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