New DNA project will help find the relatives of Holocaust survivors and their children
The DNA Reunion Project, a new program under the auspices of the Center for Jewish History in New York City, is handing out free DNA kits to Holocaust survivors and their children to help them find living relatives.
Usually, CJH covers the cost of the DNA kits, but a donation of 2,500 DNA kits by genealogy company Ancestry.com will make it possible for CJH to reach even more Holocaust survivors.
Ancestry’s donation, worth approximately $250,000, was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, Jan. 27.
“This incredibly generous donation will give hundreds of families – long ago separated by the horrors of the Holocaust – the opportunity to make crucial connections with relatives and reclaim their family story before it’s too late,” said CJH President Gavriel Rosenfeld. “With the number of survivors dwindling as the years go by, this genealogical effort is a priceless gift that can bring enormous closure and healing to families.”
DNA Reunion Project co-founder Adina Newman said she hopes the program will make people realize that trying to find relatives is not a hopeless endeavor.
“We want to empower people with the tools to find closure about the fates of their family members while they can. Too many people mistakenly think there’s no point in searching, but there really still is information to be found,” Newman said.
Project co-founder Jennifer Mendelsohn said not enough people are aware of the possibilities of genetic genealogy.
“Genetic genealogy can be an incredibly powerful tool for making family connections when the paper trail has been disrupted, but many people aren’t even aware that it can be used that way. They think DNA testing is just about the ethnicity pie charts,” she said. “This donation really has the potential to change lives.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.