41% of Americans have to ask, ‘What’s Auschwitz?’

Thursday is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and a new survey suggests the day is sorely needed.

The results show that many Americans, particularly young adults, lack a basic understanding of the Nazi genocide during World War II.

Though 96 percent of respondents said the Holocaust took place, 31 percent believe a maximum of 2 million Jews were killed, well under the actual figure of about 6 million, reports the New York Times. The percentage increased to 41 percent among millennials, defined as those aged 18 to 34.

Some 41 percent of Americans and 66 percent of millennials had no idea about Auschwitz, the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where an estimated 1.1 million were killed, per WFTS.

The infamous German inscription that reads 'Work Makes Free' at the main gate of the Auschwitz I extermination camp. (Getty Images)

The infamous German inscription that reads ‘Work Makes Free’ at the main gate of the Auschwitz I extermination camp. (Getty Images)

The executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which seeks restitution for Holocaust victims and their heirs and commissioned the February survey of 1,350 respondents, says the gaps in understanding are “troubling” given that some 400,000 Holocaust survivors are still living.

“Imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories,” he says, stressing the importance of Holocaust education. He’s backed by survey respondents, 93 percent of whom said it was important to teach about the Holocaust in schools.

While experts say there’s nothing quite like hearing about the genocide directly from a survivor, museums are preparing for a time when no survivors remain, using holograms and recorded testimony to keep their stories alive, notes the Times.

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