World War What?


This absolutely staggering poll conducted by the BBC suggests that 45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz (via LGF):

The survey found that 45 percent of those surveyed had not heard of Auschwitz. Historians estimate that anywhere from one million to three million people, about 90 percent of them Jews, were killed there.

Among women and people younger than 35, 60 percent had never heard of Auschwitz, despite the recent popularity of films such as “Schindler’s List,” “Life is Beautiful” and “The Pianist,” which depict the atrocities of the Holocaust.

“The name Auschwitz is quite rightly a byword for horror, but the problem with thinking about horror is that we naturally turn away from it,” Rees said.

The BBC said the research was based on a nationally representative postal survey of 4,000 adults 16 and older.

Well, that explains a lot. After all, it’s easier to let those equivalences between Jews and Nazis roll off your tongue when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

This January marks the 60th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation, and world leaders are set to attend – including Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac.

I wonder how the French press will explain that one. Auschwitz was terrible, but Arafat’s a hero for wanting the same outcome as the Nazis?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thomas 12.03.04 at 3:40 PM

So what is Auschwitz anyways?


2 just a historian guy 12.03.04 at 7:05 PM

Auschwitz was a entertainment theme park built by the germans for the jews in Poland during WWII.

Apparently many jews died there, don’t ask me why and how.


3 Anonymous 12.03.04 at 11:26 PM

Any stats on the % of Canadians or Americans who have never heard of it?


4 DaninVan 12.04.04 at 5:11 AM

I can’t speak for the other Provinces but B.C.’s school curriculum covers WWII quite thoroughly. If anybody (who went to school here) claims they’ve never heard of the Holocaust, they’re full of crap.


5 DaninVan 12.04.04 at 5:29 AM

” In assignments that focus on the historical significance of the Holocaust, ask students to clearly outline:

* the chronology of related events
* the role of individuals
* beliefs, values, and interests associated with Nazi Germany
* how different choices could have led to different consequences
* the relevance of the Holocaust to their own time

The above is from the Gr 12 curriculum

All the Grades are at that site if any one was interested in other course content.


6 Dr_Funk 12.05.04 at 2:26 AM

It doesn’t surprise me all that much: history teaching has been gutted in both Britain and Canada. Where there are history courses, it tends to focus on ‘social issues’. A relative told me that the greater part of his grade 10 history segment on World War II (5 classes) was spent on how Japanese-Canadians were mistreated. Which is not something that should not be looked at, but there is so much more to see in Canada’s role in World War II, not to mention the whole war itself….


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