Concerns over Americans’ lack of knowledge about the Holocaust

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -The mass murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust is a permanent scar on world history. However, surveys indicate a significant amount of adults have never even heard of the holocaust.

Kristallnacht Survivor Ernie Lorch's memories of Germany in 1938 are as tragic as they are vivid.

"It was havoc at home, to say the least," Lorch said. "My dad gets hit in the head by a rifle butt. It killed him immediately. My dad was 47, a very nice man."

Kristallnacht, or "The Night of Broken Glass" when German Nazis burned synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes and schools, and killed close to 100 Jews. Lorch shared his story to an audience of all ages at the statehouse today.

"We can't allow ourselves to forget the tragedy of the Holocaust, the sheer scope of it," David Sklar, Assistant Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, said.

A survey released in April 2018, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, found people are forgetting. Some say they never knew at all. Of 1,350 Americans 18 and older surveyed, 11 percent of adults and 22 percent of millennials haven't heard, or aren't sure they've heard, of the holocaust.

"This is obviously something that we have to remember," Sklar said. " It's an obligation for all of us to remember what happened to make sure that we never forget to make sure that it never happens again."

Hoosier Holocaust survivor Eva Kor passed away in July. Memorializing this dark piece of history was so important to her. She started the Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute.

"If my mom were still alive, this would probably only re-energize her in trying to teach more people about her past and the lessons she learned," Alex Kor said.

Kor was with his mother in Poland when she died, while on a trip spent educating others.

" History repeats itself and I think the biggest concern that anybody would have, especially somebody myself, a child of two Holocaust survivors, is that the exact same thing could happen in the future," Kor said.

Almost all adults surveyed say every student should learn about the Holocaust. Eighty percent said it's important to keep talking about it.

"Freedom is not free," Lorch told the audience at the statehouse. "It needs to be paid for and paid attention to, and we need to talk about it, and we need to act on it."

For anyone who would like to learn more about the Holocaust, there are resources around the city and state available to you:

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council

The Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis

The Story of Eva documentary website

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