Quebecers less exposed to Holocaust than other Canadians poll finds

first_imgMONTREAL — A new poll suggests that Quebecers are significantly less likely than other Canadians to have learned about the Holocaust in school or read a book about the Second World War genocide.About 40 per cent of respondents across Canada said they did not learn in school that roughly six-million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War, while more than 53 per cent of Quebecers said so.More than 61 per cent of Quebecers polled said they’d never read a book about the Holocaust, compared to the Canadian average of 41 per cent.And 36 per cent of respondents from Quebec said they had never had contact with a Jewish person. The Canadian average was 18 per cent.Leger surveyed 1,560 Canadians over the age of 18, between June 7-11, 2019, in the poll commissioned by Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.In an interview Saturday, the historian said he was surprised to learn the gap between Quebec and the rest of the country was so high.“These are very surprising gaps — which is telling,” Jedwab said adding that he’s studied the Quebec history curriculum and the province’s schools don’t teach the Second World War in great detail.“And if you’re not going to deal with WW2, probably the end result is that you won’t learn a lot about the Holocaust because they are connected,” he said.Other than Quebecers, the Canadians least likely to have learned about the Holocaust in school were from Ontario and Atlantic Canada, both at 31 per cent.About 38 per cent of respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, who were grouped together in the survey, said they had never read a book about the Holocaust, second only to Quebec.Ontarian respondents were the most likely Canadians to know someone who is Jewish — only 12 per cent of them said they have “never” had contact with a Jew.The survey results should be a wake-up call to Quebec’s minister of education, Jedwab said. Learning about the genocide of the Jews empowers people to fight discrimination and strengthens one’s sense of tolerance, he added.According to B’nai Brith Canada, anti-Semitic incidents in Quebec increased from 474 in 2017 to 709 in 2018, a jump of 50 per cent. Anti-Semitic incidents rose roughly 17 per cent between 2017 and 2018 across Canada.The 2,041 hate acts against Jews in 2018 was the first time since 1982 that there have been more than 2,000 such incidents in the country over a 12-month period, B’nai Brith Canada noted in its April report. The Jewish advocacy group also said in its most recent audit that the year 2018 “was characterized by a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide.”A September 2018 survey that polled 1,100 Canadians, conducted by New York City-based Schoen Consulting, indicated 22 per cent of respondents between 18 and 34 years old were unaware or unsure if they had even heard of the Holocaust.In response to the rise of anti-Semitic acts in Canada and the decline of Holocaust awareness across the country, a foundation that educates young people about genocide is partnering with the Quebec government to offer high school teachers a study guide on genocide.Heidi Berger, head of The Foundation for Genocide Education, told The Canadian Press in April that beginning in the fall, a selection of high schools across Quebec will be offered the universal teaching guide as part of a pilot project. Her goal is to have the guidebook in every public and private high school across the province by 2020.Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img

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