Earlier this year CHRG members Donna-Lee Frieze, Steven Cooke and Andrew Singleton and Matteo Vergani (ADI) released a report based on the Gandel Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness in Australia Survey. The survey and report were commissioned by the Gandel Foundation.
The report analyses the results of the survey, which was designed to understand how much Australians know about the Holocaust and how much it continues to impact in contemporary times. The survey made some important findings, revealing that there is widespread support for Holocaust education. The survey also found a correlation between Holocaust awareness and other pro-social feelings towards minority groups in Australia such as First Nations Australians and refugees.
The survey had more than 3500 respondents and data were collected through the Social Research Centre. More than half of all respondents were aware of key facts about the Holocaust, including when it occurred, the Jewish death toll and other groups targeted by the Nazis.
The survey also revealed strong support for Holocaust memorials and museums, as well has Holocaust education both inside and outside of schools. Interestingly, the survey showed that Australians are not very aware of their connections to the Holocaust. Only 7% of respondents were aware that Australia is thought to have one of the highest per capita population of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel.
The survey showed that over 75% of respondents had watched movies and documentaries that featured the Holocaust, with 45% having read novels about the Holocaust.
The results of the survey have led the research team to make a series of recommendations, including the inclusion of the Holocaust on the curricula of Australian states and territories and the research, creation and distribution of resources to address gaps in Holocaust knowledge – particularly in relation to Australian connections to the Holocaust.
Steven and Donna, along with Anna Kent and Queensland teacher Lauren Hovelroud, are now working on the developing teaching resources for use during Holocaust Memorial Week in 2022. This project is being funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education. Holocaust Memorial Week will build on the findings of the survey with a focus on place and belonging – highlighting the stories of survivors who came to Australia during and after the Holocaust.
You can read the full project report here.