A museum in Dallas has received concerning results from a national survey that found many young adults have little to no knowledge about one of the darkest moments in our world’s history.
Tonight, the Dallas Holocaust Museum tried to change that by hosting Millennials Night.
A couple hundred trickled into the building in downtown Dallas.
It was a specific group of invited guests: those born in the early 80s to late 90s.
Welcomed and provided with drinks and appetizers before being ushered into the museum, all in an effort to shed light on a dark moment in time.
Lupe Sandoval, 28, came with her friends.
“As you look around it’s kind of overwhelming,” she said.
The history major knows about the horrors of the 1930s and 40s.
The six million Jews and millions of others targeted and killed during the Holocaust.
“It’s such a powerful moment and such a terrible moment but we need to learn from these things,” said Sandoval.
However, a recent survey by the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found that two-thirds of millennials do not know Auschwitz was a death camp; approximately 20% did not know what the Holocaust was at all.
“I was concerned but I wasn’t really surprised,” said Mary Pat Higgins President/CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum. “Millennials were going through school at a time when Holocaust education wasn’t required. That changed in 2012 so our younger students are getting this information.”
For Higgins, the survey results have only increased her determination to ‘fill the gap.’
“To make sure that they know this history because it shows what can happen when prejudice and hatred are unchecked,” she said. “And we have so much prejudice and hatred in our world today we all need them to understand that it’s important to stand up to it.”
The young adults were led on docent tours around the permanent Holocaust exhibit.
Holocaust survivor Max Glauben told the crowd his story.
“Definitely covered it a little bit in middle school but more in high school,” said Cynthia Washington, 27. “I know my parents did a great job of making sure I was exposed to those things and makes me a more well-rounded individual and I feel like people who don’t know that kind of have like a more one-sided view of things in life.”
“Maybe at times we can seem like we’re not knowledgeable about things,” said Sandoval about the survey results. “But at the end of the day, you need to learn your history so you don’t repeat it.”
The New Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is currently under construction.
It is set to open in September 2019.
Higgins believes one section of the new museum will resonate with millennials. It is a ‘call-to-action’ gallery where visitors will be able to sign up to volunteer with local organizations.
“They’re very socially conscious,” said Higgins of millennials. “They care deeply about issues that they’re passionate about so we want to engage millennials to help us make a difference in our community.”
The next Millennials Night at the Dallas Holocaust Museum will take place June 2019.