Poll: One-Third of Americans Would Refuse to Hide a Jew During the Holocaust

'Return to the Hiding Place'

The scientific poll is part of a marketing plan for 'Return to the Hiding Place,' a movie about Christians helping Jews during the Holocaust.

One-third of American adults, if alive during the Holocaust, would refuse to hide a Jew from the Nazis.

That data comes courtesy of a scientific poll conducted as part of an odd marketing ploy to promote the digital release of the film Return to the Hiding Place, which tells the true story of Christians who risked death to shelter Jews from Nazis seeking to ship them off to death camps during World War II.

The film, in fact, is similar to 1975's The Hiding Place, only this time around the story is told from the perspective of a physics student who refuses to join Germany's Nazi party.

Return to the Hiding Place was released theatrically last year and managed impressive business on a per-screen basis. It then played in hundreds of churches through EchoLight Studios, the company run by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. It was released on Amazon.com and iTunes on Sept.15, and a two-disc DVD set with both The Hiding Place and Return to the Hiding Place was released through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Peter Spencer, who directed and co-produced the movie, got the idea for the poll when star John Rhys-Davies — during a Hallmark Channel appearance to promote the movie — asked Home & Family co-hosts Cristina Ferrare and Mark Steines if they'd have risked the lives of their own families to hide a Jew from Nazis.

Ferrare was adamant she would, while Steines said he wouldn't have been able to put his family in such danger. See the clip below.

"It's a moral dilemma that we've never had to face, but you know those kids did, and their families did, and a lot of them lost their lives because of it," Rhys-Davies says to the co-hosts, referencing the true-life characters in the film. 

Barna Research conducted the poll, asking the question: "Think back to World War II when Jews in Europe were forced into concentration camps and many were killed by the Nazis. If you were living in this time period, would you have risked the possible imprisonment and death of yourself and your family to hide Jews?"

Sixty-nine percent said they would while 31 percent said they would not, with males more likely than females to answer in the affirmative. Married people were more likely to say yes than were single people, and homosexuals were more likely to say yes than were heterosexuals. The religious were more likely to answer yes than were the irreligious, and Southerners were more likely to say yes than were those from the Northeast.

While many demographics were broken down, the pollsters did not isolate Jews compared with non-Jews because the sample size was too small to be statistically accurate. The pollsters surveyed 1,000 Americans and the research boasts a 95 percent confidence level with a ±3 percent sample error.

Beyond marketing his film, Spencer says he'll use the poll to draw attention to ISIS, the Islamic terror group that today is killing non-Muslims in the Middle East.

"Our film raises uncomfortable questions such as, 'If you are not saving your brothers now when you are not under threat, would you save them when your life was in danger?' " says Spencer.

"ISIS is intent on liquidating Christians and Jews just as Hitler was intent on liquidating the Jewish people," Spencer said. "We often think of saving strangers as hypothetical, but we are at a moment in history where that call to action is not only literal, it is vital."

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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