1 in 5 Young Germans has Never Heard of Auschwitz
A German survey has found that more than one in five young Germans has never heard of the most notorious concentration camp the world has ever known.
The survey, by the Forsa research institute and published in Stern, was conducted just two days before Holocaust Memorial Day. This Friday marks the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet forces.
Among Germans over age 30, fully 95% had heard of Auschwitz.
On one hand, the survey’s results are shocking because those who do not understand the past are bound to repeat it (although there will probably never be another German-made Holocaust for reasons I’m about to list). On the other hand, perhaps no people on earth has repented for the sins of their fathers, grandfathers and now great-grandfathers as have the Germans. Today’s Germans bear no responsibility for the horrific atrocities carried out by Hitler’s Nazi regime. But they are constantly reminded of those bad old days, especially by British, American, Russian and eastern European people who just can’t seem to forgive and forget. To this very day, Germans are often portrayed as bad guys in films and TV shows; German accents are often associated with Nazism and evil. This is a shame because unlike the Japanese, who gloss over or deny their imperial-age atrocities, the Germans have fully faced their past demons ad nauseum.