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The DNA Shoah Project is building a database of genetic material from Holocaust survivors and their immediate descendants in hopes of reuniting families disrupted by the Shoah (“Holocaust” in Hebrew). The Project aims to match displaced relatives, provide Shoah orphans and lost children with information about their biological families and, eventually, assist in the forensic identification of Holocaust-era remains.

DNA is the genetic material in our cells that makes us each unique. For the purposes of this project, it may be obtained from pre-war immigrants, survivors, and second and third generation family members via a painless cheek swab. The Project contains an educational component as well, employing current science and technology to teach the Holocaust in our schools.

This project stands at a unique confluence of technology and history: for the first time, the science necessary to make this effort a success is available, but we are losing aging Holocaust survivors at an alarming rate. The Project’s goal is to use this window of opportunity to collect as many DNA samples as possible from living survivors and their family members around the globe.

Participants' anonymity is assured by the separation of genetic information from personal identifiers. At no time will information be shared with any unauthorized, non-forensic agency. Contributors will be part of the first-ever effort to construct a genetic testimony and legacy for victims of the Holocaust.

There is no fee to participate.


Uses for the DNA Database

  • Reunite families displaced by the Holocaust
  • Assist global orphan-placement organizations to identify siblings and close relatives separated during World War II
  • Eventually, when the database has reached sufficient size, assist European governments in Holocaust-era forensic identifications
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