The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Most Austrians don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust, survey finds

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The majority of Austrians adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, according to a study released Thursday.

“We are seeing disturbing trends pointing to the lack of Holocaust knowledge,” Julius Berman, the president of the Claims Conference, said in a statement.

The survey, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, comes against a backdrop of rising antisemitism and far-right movements gaining footholds across Europe, including in Austria, which long downplayed its role in the Holocaust and where a right-wing populist party is part of the national governing coalition.

Austrians’ Holocaust awareness

The survey focused on knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust, Austria and its annexation by Nazi Germany, as well as views on contemporary neo-Nazism and antisemitism and Holocaust education. It polled 1,000 Austrian adults aged 18 and older between February 22 and March 1 via phone.

  • 87% of respondents said they had definitely heard or seen the word Holocaust
  • 58% said the Holocaust referred to the extermination of the Jewish people
  • 69% identified the Holocaust as having taken place in Germany
  • 62% identified annexed Austria and 48% also Nazi-occupied Poland as places the Holocaust took place
  • 56% did not know 6 million Jews had been killed in the Holocaust; 10% said around 100,000 Jews were killed
  • While 98% of respondents were familiar with Adolf Hitler, the chancellor of Nazi Germany, only 51% knew Adolf Eichmann, an Austrian who was one of the main organizers of the Holocaust
  • 21% did not know Hitler originally came from Austria; only 14% knew Eichmann was Austrian