Back to

National survey reveals a quarter of Australians lack knowledge about the Holocaust

National survey reveals a quarter of Australians lack knowledge about the Holocaust

As the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a timely national survey led by Deakin researchers has found almost a quarter of Australians aged 18 or older have little to no knowledge of the Holocaust.

The Gandel Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness in Australia Survey’  is the first and largest of-its-kind to help understand not just how much Australians know factually about the Holocaust, but also how aware they are of the catastrophe and its impact.

Commissioned by the Gandel Foundation, the survey asked over 3,500 Australians across states and territories to answer more than 70 individual questions. The questions asked Australians about their thoughts, experiences and understanding on everything from Australia’s connections to the Holocaust to the importance of Holocaust museums and memorials.

Lead researchers Associate Professor Steven Cooke, Dr Donna-Lee Frieze and Professor Andrew Singleton all from Deakin’s Faculty of Arts and Education and Dr Matteo Vergani from the Alfred Deakin Institute believe there are important lessons to be learned from the survey.

The survey found almost a quarter (24%) of the population aged 18 years or older have little to no knowledge of the Holocaust, with that number rising to 30% among millennials. In reporting Holocaust knowledge, just over half (54%) correctly identified that the number of Jews murdered was approximately 6 million.

Despite Australia being home to arguably the largest number of Holocaust survivors per capita over 70% of Australians report they know nothing about the nation’s connections to the Holocaust.

‘Not many people know about Australia’s hardline attitude towards Jewish refugees before the Second World War. How does knowing that history help us to, for instance, reflect on our attitudes towards asylum seekers today?’ Dr Cooke said.

Significantly, an overwhelming number of almost 9 in 10 of Australians strongly agree that we can learn lessons for today from what happened in the Holocaust.

‘In addition, the survey tells us Australians understand how valuable opportunities are to build knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust. We found almost two-thirds believed it should be compulsory for schools to teach students about the Holocaust,’ Dr Cooke said.

‘Over the next few years there will also be several new, or significantly redeveloped Holocaust museums or educations centres in every state and territory in Australia.

‘We hope to see the survey repeated in five and then ten years to allow us to evaluate and compare the impact of Holocaust education on Holocaust knowledge and awareness – and on community attitudes’, Dr Cooke said.

Full story on the Deakin Website


Looking to partner with Australia's leading social sciences 
and humanities research institute?

If you are interested in partnering or studying with us – we're keen to hear from you.