Public thinks Holocaust sparked WW II

26th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch people generally know more about World War II than is often thought, according to a report published ahead of the Remembrance and Liberation Days next week.

26 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — Dutch people generally know more about World War II than is often thought, according to a report published ahead of the Remembrance and Liberation Days next week.

The Nationaal Vrijheidsonderzoek (National Freedom Study) conducted by the 4 and 5 May national committee found most people have a clear understanding of Nazi ideas, the causes of the conflict and the persecution of the Jews.

But the report warned the level of knowledge about the war among under 25s is a cause for concern.

Some 900 Dutch people, aged 13 and older, were questioned. Not surprisingly people aged 65 and older were more knowledgeable than younger people.

Men also seemed to know more about the period than women, but this might be because men are more interested in war and are more prepared to gamble on an answer, the researchers said.

Strikingly, the persecution of the Jews was the most cited as a cause of the war, and 83 percent thought incorrectly that the Holocaust led to war between the Axis and the Allied powers.

The researchers said this indicated that the Nazi attempt to destroy the Jews and other groups has become synonymous with the war itself.

More than half of the people questioned were able to put the major events of the war in the right order. But many underestimated the scale and the magnitude of the conflict, with estimates of the number of countries involved ranging from five to 20. In reality more than 50 took part in the war. 

There was also ignorance about how many citizens of the Soviet Union died during WWII. Some 22 percent of the people questioned thought the Netherlands was among the five countries that suffered the most casualties.

The five with the highest combined civilian and military losses were the Soviet Union (in the region of 25 million), China (11 million), Germany (7 million), Poland (6.8 million) and Japan (1.8 million).

The Netherlands suffered 14,000 military and 236,000 civilian casualties, including over 100,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Dutch people also overestimate the number of collaborators and resistance fighters in the occupied Netherlands. In reality about 5 percent of the population worked with the Nazis and with another 5 percent active in the Resistance.  

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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