DNA test company donates 2500 kits to help Shoah survivors track down family

The project is aiming to unite relatives torn apart by the Holocaust


HAIFA, PALESTINE - JULY 15, 1945: The British ship Mataroa arrives with 1,204 Jewish survivors of the Nazi persecution in Europe on July 15, 1945 at the northern port of Haifa in what was the British Mandate for Palestine. (Photo by Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images)

The world’s biggest DNA testing firm,, has gifted 2,500 of its DNA kits to a project working on uniting Holocaust survivors with family members. 

The company announced the scheme in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday 27 January.

The tests will be distributed buy the DNA Reunion Project supported by the New York City-based Centre for Jewish History (CJH). It will mail free genealogy kits to Holocaust survivors and their children as part of its mission to link them with any unknown living relatives.

According to the project’s co-founder, more than 100 test kits have already been posted since they launched the initiative last November. 

The kits are priced at 99 dollars, the equivalent of around £80, meaning the donation's value is the equivalent of almost one-quarter of a million dollars.

This is a major financial boost for the CJH scheme which was previously covering the cost of offering the tests to Shoah survivors and their families free of charge.

In a blog post, explained: “As a result of the horrific persecution Jews endured during World War II, it is crucial to empower survivors and their families to find new connections and preserve their shared and individual histories. 

“At a time when antisemitism and Holocaust denial are on the rise, we are at a critical moment where the facts of the Holocaust are in danger of being lost or misunderstood. 
The company said they remain, “committed to preserving original documentation of the Holocaust and making it available for free, so that future generations have access to first-hand evidence and accurate history.”

DNA Reunion Project co-founder Jennifer Mendelsohn told the Times of Israel “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.

“This donation really has the potential to change lives,” she went on.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive