Policy-makers and older generations of Britons sometimes get worried that the Holocaust, and the events of the Second World War more generally, are fading from the public memory. Last year, for instance, there was extensive media coverage of a study by the London Jewish Cultural Centre and Miramax which revealed that many secondary school pupils did not know about Auschwitz, some even regarding it as a brand of beer.
Now YouGov has released the results of a survey it conducted on 1-2 July this year among 2,233 adults aged 18 and over drawn from its online panel. The poll asked about the importance of British schoolchildren learning about eleven periods and events in European history.
The Holocaust topped the list, 80% regarding it as very or fairly important that schoolchildren learn about it. Communism (72%) and Fascism (69%) came second and third, with the Enlightenment (45%) and German and Italian unification (41%) in the bottom two places. The Reformation scored 53%.
The importance attached to teaching about the Holocaust varied with age, from 69% among the 18-24s to 78% for the 25-39s, 83% for the 40-59s and 85% for those aged 60 and over. However, the youngest age cohort still attached the greatest significance to the Holocaust of all the periods and events on offer.
Women (83%) also deemed the Holocaust more important than men (77%) and the ABC1s (84%) more than the C2DEs (75%). Among voters, Liberal Democrats were most supportive (88%). At 82%, London and the rest of southern England regarded teaching of the Holocaust as a little more important than elsewhere in Britain.
The full results of the survey will be found at:
The questions on European history formed part of the same poll which covered religious education, for which see http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=512.