DNA Testing Helping Holocaust Survivors Find Families

By i24
Posted on 12/06/22 | News Source: i24

New York-based Center for Jewish History launching the DNA Reunion Project

DNA testing is helping Holocaust survivors locate long-lost loved ones.

The New York-based Center for Jewish History is launching the DNA Reunion Project, which offers free DNA kits to Jews who endured the Nazi genocide and have been searching for family members they haven't seen since World War II.

"DNA can be a miraculous tool for making connections between people when the paper trail is severed and our (Jewish) community is particularly affected by that and we put our heads together and said 'this is a technology that should be used more widely by this community because it can do miraculous things,'" Jennifer Mendelsohn, a co-founder of the project alongside Dr. Adina Newman, told i24NEWS.

For decades, many Holocaust survivors were left without any trace of their relatives. Some ended up being unable to find one another once the war ended, while others unknowingly immigrated to different countries around the world. Before advances in DNA, many were stuck with the question of whether or not their family members had even survived.

Now, it is as easy as applying through the website for the free DNA kit by filling out a form. Then the submissions are reviewed by the center. If approved, the kits from the commercial DNA companies are sent out.

Mendelsohn and Newman said that several hundred emails have been received already and that they are "hoping to fill as many requests as possible," calling the demand "overwhelming."