One in five young Americans believes the Holocaust is a myth – while another 30% say they are unsure if the genocide ever took place, poll finds

  • Fake news on social media is considered the main reason why young people question the Holocaust.
  • Holocaust denial is much more common among young people, although seven percent of Americans of all ages still believe it is a myth.
  • Meanwhile, more Americans perceive anti-Semitism as a problem now than in 2019.

One in five young Americans believe the Holocaust was a myth, while only half believe it actually happened, a new poll has found.

Conspiracy theories about the Holocaust abound on social media, as fake news is believed to be a major cause of Holocaust denial or insecurity among young people.

Older people were much more likely to believe that the Holocaust really happened, but seven percent of Americans of all ages still believed it was a myth.

The new YouGov/The Economist poll data is particularly timely given the rise in allegations of anti-Semitism on US university campuses since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

TikTok was forced to block users from searching for “Holocaust myth” in accordance with its community guidelines, which state: “This phrase may be associated with hate speech.”

The results of the new survey are especially relevant given the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

The results of the new survey are especially relevant given the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

The survey comes amid widespread pro-Palestinian protests in major cities and university campuses across the United States.

The survey comes amid widespread pro-Palestinian protests in major cities and university campuses across the United States.

A recent study by data analytics company Generation Lab found that young people who use TikTok are more likely to hold anti-Semitic beliefs.

This week, Congress opened investigations into Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania after their presidents failed to condemn students who called for Jewish genocide.

Since the brutal Hamas attack on October 7, the campuses of Harvard, MIT, and Penn have been inundated with unregulated anti-Israel protests.

The presidents of three universities were called to a congressional hearing in which they refused to condemn calls for genocide of Jews as “persecution” and said such speech did not necessarily violate their codes of conduct.

But the problem is not limited to Ivy League campuses: the survey found that the level of belief in the Holocaust as a myth is similar at all levels of education.

About 20 percent of all people ages 18 to 29 believe the murder of six million Jews is fictional, and another 30 percent said they don’t know whether the Holocaust was a myth or not.

Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Pamela Nadell, Professor of History and Jewish Studies at American University, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Pamela Nadell, Professor of History and Jewish Studies at American University, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat, called for more funding to educate students about the Holocaust.

She said this week: “Failing to teach students about the seriousness and scope of the Holocaust is a disservice to the memory of its victims and our duty to prevent similar atrocities in the future.”

YouGov stressed that Holocaust denial is still “rare” but found that most adults “tend to agree with certain negative statements about Israel.”

Even if Americans believe that the Holocaust actually happened, one in five still believe that “Israel is using Holocaust victims for its own purposes.”

These views influence their views on Israel’s national and foreign policy, with nearly a fifth of adults believing that “the interests of Israelis are at odds with the interests of the rest of the world.”

Another fifth believe that “Israel has too much control over global affairs,” and nearly a third believe that “Israel is deliberately trying to destroy the Palestinian population.”

Young people and Democratic voters are more likely to hold these negative views than Republicans.

Pro-Palestinian march in New York on December 9.

Pro-Palestinian march in New York on December 9.

Americans under 30 are especially likely to agree with the statement that “Jews have too much power in America,” with 28 percent saying they strongly or tend to agree.

YouGov says levels of agreement with anti-Israel or anti-Semitic statements have not changed much since 2019, suggesting the war has had little impact on public sentiment.

And they add that more Americans perceive anti-Semitism as a problem now than in 2019—up to 63 percent from 54 percent in 2019.

They add that a majority of Americans – 67 percent – agree that Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic.