Americans Believe a Holocaust of European Jewry Could Recur

A majority of Americans believes a holocaust against the Jews of Europe could happen again, according to a national survey released this week.

The survey was commissioned by a group called the Committee of Concerned Christians, which describes itself as “the first all-denominational Christian organization whose sole purpose is to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten.”

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they believed another holocaust similar to the Nazi Holocaust could happen in Europe.

Thirty-two percent said it could not happen again, and the remainder was unsure or did not know.

The survey, released Tuesday in the office of Richard Halverson, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate and a member of the committee’s advisory board, sampled 1,022 adults between April 30 and May 2.

Ben Friedman, founder of and spokesman for the committee, said in a statement that the results show most Americans do not believe the Holocaust-related slogan “Never Again” is accurate.

The slogan “is an obsolete and ineffective warning against another Holocaust, and should be abandoned immediately by the Jewish people,” said Friedman, a businessman who was described by the Los Angeles Times as an active member of the Jewish community.

“Unless a full-scale program is implemented to prevent another Holocaust, a more accurate slogan is ‘It will happen again,’ ” said Friedman.

ONE SERMON PER YEAR PLEDGED

The committee plans to launch a program to educate Americans about the Holocaust, including distribution of a free videotape about the Holocaust to 10,000 churches, and distribution of copies of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Friedman founded the committee last year, in an effort to ensure that the Holocaust is not forgotten. He has enlisted 1,000 ministers and bishops across the country in his cause, and they have pledged to deliver one sermon per year about the Holocaust.

The survey found that older people are more likely to believe a holocaust could happen again.

Sixty-one percent of people age 45 to 64 believe that another holocaust could occur, while only 48 percent of younger respondents felt that way.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents had heard about the Holocaust, the survey said. It also found that one in six Americans is unaware of the centuries of persecution suffered by the Jews of Europe before World War II.

Only 14 percent of respondents had ever attended a class, seminar or sermon about the Holocaust in a church or synagogue.

A recent study by the American Jewish Committee found that many Americans are ignorant about events relating to the Holocaust.

When asked if they knew what the term “Holocaust” referred to, 38 percent of adults and 53 percent of high school students in the AJCommittee study either said they did not know or offered completely incorrect answers.

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