For one in four Italians Holocaust Remembrance Day is useless

The percentage of Italians who recognize the usefulness of Holocaust Remembrance Day is declining, the latest survey by the SWG research institute revealed. SWG has been monitoring the perception and feelings of Italians toward this date every January since 2014. A perception that this year has been conditioned “by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas,” as SWG pointed out, underlining that the events triggered by October 7, “while on one hand have led a share of Italians to a greater emotional closeness toward the Jewish people, on the other hand they have generated detachment toward the Israeli government’s choices.” This seems to have caused “a slightly negative effect toward the Holocaust Remembrance Day as well.”
23% of people who were interviewed believe that it serves “no longer any purpose”, while for 16% of them it represents an issue “that only concerns Jews.”
Both figures are up compared to 2023, when the sample’s orientation toward these two options had been 22% and 15%, respectively. Significantly decreasing, however, is the number of those who think that Holocaust Remembrance Day helps “not to forget what happened” (down from 91% in 2023 to 83% today) and those who think it helps “to keep attention on these issues alive” (down from 86% to 77%).
In another question of the survey, SWG asked to complete with an adjective the following sentence: “In your opinion, remembering the genocide of Jews and other victims of Nazism through Holocaust Remembrance Day is…”. 37% of the respondents chose “right”, while 35% chose “educational”. “Due” was chosen by 28%, “rhetorical” by 11% and “useless” by 8%.
Regarding the Middle East conflict, after an initial majority support for the “Israeli community,” closeness to “the Palestinian community” now prevails. 14% of interviewed people declared themselves “closer” to Israel, while 21% are more supportive of the Palestinians. 26% of the sample, chosen from 800 representatives of the Italian population of legal age (18+) and interviewed using CAWI – Computer Assisted Web Interviewing survey method, claimed to be close to “both” communities, while 23% “to neither”. 16% chose not to take sides.
SWG also said that the war led two out of five Italians to revise their opinion of “the Jewish people”, although in most cases “criticism focuses on the Israeli government”. The sentiment is almost equally divided among those who feel “closer” (19%) and those who would have developed a “more negative opinion” (21%).

Translated by Claudia Editori, revised by Laura Cattani, students from the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, trainees in the newsroom of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.