Nearly half of all Canadians believe the United States has a Nazi problem, according to a survey about Holocaust remembrance released Thursday.
It's no mystery where they got that perception. Last year, a group of neo-Nazis received the red-carpet treatment from U.S. law enforcement as they traveled to Washington for a rally. A respected Holocaust scholar seriously compared certain American elected officials to those in Germany during the rise of the Nazis. And Americans re-elected a white supremacist congressman mere days after an anti-Semitic gunman murdered Jewish worshippers in Pennsylvania.
According to the survey, 47 per cent of Canadian respondents said there are a "great deal" of or "many" neo-Nazis in the U.S. Only 17 per cent said there are a "great deal" of or "many" neo-Nazis in their own country.
The Azrieli Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany polled 1,100 Canadian adults with questions about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, releasing the results about nine months after a similar survey of Americans.
Like their northern neighbours, Americans also saw a Nazi problem in the U.S., according to the earlier survey. A total of 51 per cent said there are a "great deal" of or "many" neo-Nazis in their country.
The results of the U.S. survey sparked alarm, including for the finding that two-thirds of American millennials did not know what Auschwitz was. Americans as a whole did not fare much better, with 41 per cent being unable to identify the Nazi concentration camp.
As it turns out, Canadians' knowledge of the Holocaust is not much better. According to the new survey, 52 per cent of Canadian millennials and 49 per cent of all Canadians could not name one of the over 40,000 Nazi camps or ghettos.
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While the results of the two surveys show an ignorance of one of Western civilization's greatest atrocities, pollsters note that ― at least in the U.S. ― Holocaust awareness has been near these levels for a couple of decades already.
Perhaps recognizing the knowledge gap, large majorities in both the U.S. and Canada said they support Holocaust education in schools.
The survey of Canadians was conducted Sept. 1-8, 2018, by Schoen Consulting, using a combination of phone calls and responses from an online panel.
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