Did you know that 63 percent of Americans aged 18-39 were not aware that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust according to a recent study?
On top of that, 36 percent of the people polled believed that fewer than 2 million were murdered. Ten percent of the participants claimed they either did not think the Holocaust happened or were unsure of whether it did or did not occur.
The previously stated facts are found within a study published by the Chicago Tribune in September of 2020. The study encompassed 11,000 individuals from Generation Z to Millennials. These results come from a dangerous lack of information and are often a result of misinformation.
Sadly, Generation Z, my own generation, knew the least in this study and many others like it. This is alarming for many reasons. What happens if this cycle of misinformation and lack of information continues? What happens if the Holocaust is forgotten in history?
The simple answer to this question is that history repeats itself. The same events and tragedies from the past can and will occur again if we are not able to learn from them or are unaware of them. They may come about in different ways but through the same principles, such as with mass extinctions of different species or genocides as with the Holocaust.
How can we prevent this from happening? We can start by researching for ourselves and incorporating teaching about the Holocaust in public schools across the United States.
Currently, 32 states in America are not required to teach about the Holocaust. Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin mandate education on the subject (Maine and Arkansas will mandate it within the next few years).
Our own state of North Carolina currently does not require education on the subject but is planning on incorporating it in the 2023-2024 school year. This still leaves many states that will not require education on the subject in the near future.
The younger generation of people will inevitably grow up to raise the future generations. If the youth of today are not educated, the people of the future will certainly not be.
Learning about the Holocaust will not only educate about what happened and how it occurred, but will promote topics such as social justice, the examination of basic moral issues, understanding how propaganda works, the dangers of remaining neutral or silent, and understanding the value of living in a diverse and pluralistic society.
By simply incorporating education of the subject into public schools, we can help prevent statistics such as those found at the beginning of this article.
Savannah Hall, 19, is a junior at East Carolina University from Ayden studying neuroscience and psychology. The essay her final project for her holocaust class.