Last week, the Ontario government announced it is expanding Holocaust education in the province’s schools to combat antisemitism. It’s a good idea, but more must be done to fight the rising tide of hate. Night after night this week, Canadians have been treated to firebombed synagogues, anti-Jewish violence on university campuses and anti-Jewish hate speech in our streets. These crimes reveal a disturbing, but inevitable, reality: no matter how much we say “never again,” if you don’t know something to begin with, you are doomed not to remember it.
Today, many young people do not know about the Holocaust, and if they do, in many cases their knowledge is tainted by disinformation. A poll of Canadian youth taken in 2019 found that one in five was not sure what took place during the Holocaust. A 2020 survey of Americans aged 18-39 found that two-thirds did not know that six-million Jews were killed, and more than one in 10 believe Jews were to blame for the Holocaust. Almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they were unsure.
People are shocked by this. But they shouldn’t be.