Many Canadians Lack Basic Knowledge About the Holocaust, Study Finds
Yet 32 percent of the Canadians surveyed thought that Canada had an open immigration policy for Jewish refugees during the war, and 37 percent were not sure what the policy was, which Ms. Azrieli said reflected a dissonance between history and perception.
Respondents were also asked about contemporary hate groups. Nearly half of Canadians said they thought there were “a great deal” or “many” neo-Nazis in the United States, but only 17 percent thought that was the case in Canada.
That finding reflects a lack of awareness about white supremacist activity in Canada, said Barbara Perry, a professor and the director of the Center on Hate, Bias and Extremism at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, who was not affiliated with the study.
There has been drastic growth in hate groups in the country in recent years, with as many as 300 groups operating, Dr. Perry said. Much of the activity takes place online, and last week, the Canadian minister for public safety called on tech companies to cooperate with law enforcement to address the problem.
In another striking finding, 45 percent of Canadians said they agreed with the statement, “The Holocaust could happen again.” (A larger number of Americans — 58 percent — agreed with that statement in the previous study.)
Nine percent of respondents said it was acceptable for an individual to hold neo-Nazi views. Among them, only 4 percent demonstrated detailed knowledge of the Holocaust, which the study’s backers said was further evidence that the more people know about the genocide, the less likely they are to tolerate neo-Nazism.
“That shows the impact that studying historical events can have on our society today,” said Tim Kaiser, the deputy director of an educational project at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which served as an adviser for the study.
He added, “We recognize that as Holocaust educators, and as those who feel that this is important for Americans and Canadians, that we still have a lot of work to do.”