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When It Comes to Holocaust Knowledge, Australians Rank Above Americans

August 16, 1994
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Australians are more knowledgeable about the Holocaust than Americans or the British, a new survey reveals.

The survey was the sixth in a series sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, which had also sponsored surveys using identical questions in the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany.

Some 39 percent of the Australian respondents were able to provide a fully correct definition of what the Holocaust was, compared to 35 percent of the French, 33 percent of the British and 24 percent of the American respondents.

In multiple-choice questions, 85 percent of the Australians were able to identify Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau as concentration camps, compared to 76 percent of the British and 67 percent of the Americans.

The survey was conducted by Irving Saulwick and Associates, an Australian polling organization, which interviewed 1,010 respondents by telephone in mid-June.

Professor Bill Rubinstein, research consultant to the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs, which co-sponsored the survey, said the survey showed “impressive levels of knowledge” among Australians about Holocaust-related topics.

Particularly encouraging to Rubinstein was the finding that while 70 percent of those polled had heard the claims of Holocaust deniers, an average of only 9 percent of those responding to two differently worded questions appeared to give denial claims any credibility.

Adrienne Kern, who coordinates a Jewish community service that arranges 200 lectures annually on Jewish subjects to non-Jewish audiences, said that “it is not acceptable that some Australians, even if less than 10 percent of those surveyed, seem to have been influenced by Holocaust-denial propaganda.”

She said that while she was “heartened that such a large number of Australians, by comparison with other countries, possess a high level of knowledge,” the Jewish community “must continue to ensure the Holocaust is taught in schools in an increasingly effective manner.”

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