The entrance to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with the lettering 'Arbeit macht frei' ('Work makes you free'). (Joel Saget/AFP)

A new Canadian study highlights some shocking gaps in knowledge about the systematic murder of millions of Jews, Slavs, Poles, Romani, POWs and others, perpetrated by the Nazi regime during the mid-twentieth century.

Released ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, the national study was conducted by Schoen Consulting on behalf of the Azrieli Foundation.

According to the findings, 49% of all Canadian adults (and 52% of millennials and Gen Z) polled cannot name a single concentration camp out of the 40,000 camps and ghettos run by the Nazis in Europe – not even Auschwitz.

Perhaps most shockingly, 15% of the participants (and 22% of millennials and Gen Z) said they were unsure if they had ever even heard of the Holocaust.

One-third also believed that Canadians had an “open immigration policy” during the Holocaust.

(Canada Holocaust Knowledge Awareness Study)

In reality, the country admitted fewer than 5,000 Jewish refugees during the 12-year period of Nazi rule. According to the Canadian Council for Refugees website, “in 1945, [when] asked how many Jews Canada would admit after the war, a Canadian official answered ‘None is too many’.”

89% of the Canadians surveyed have never visited a Holocaust museum, and 69% do not know or know of a survivor of the genocide.

However on the plus side, a vast majority of the respondents agreed that historically accurate, in-depth education about the Holocaust is necessary in order to prevent it from happening again.

This is particularly heartening, considering additional data shows the increased likelihood of people tolerating Neo-Nazi beliefs when they have no knowledge of the Holocaust.

(Canada Holocaust Knowledge Awareness Study)

1,100 Canadians were interviewed for this study in September 2018 in both English and French, and were chosen at random to represent the country’s demographics. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

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