Free DNA kits for Holocaust survivors

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The Center for Jewish History in New York is launching a project offering DNA testing kits for free to Holocaust survivors and their children.

It’s an effort to help possibly find family connections torn apart in World War II.

Genealogists say the advent of DNA technology has opened up a new world of possibilities in addition to the paper trails and archives.

The center had allocated an initial $15,000 for the DNA kits in this initial pilot effort, which would cover about 500 of them.

Holocaust survivor Jackie Young of London recently completed a DNA search.

For decades, he had been searching.

Orphaned as an infant, he spent the first few years of his life in a Nazi camp before being taken to England after World War II and adopted.

Young, 80, had some scant information about his birth mother, but about his father?

Nothing, just a blank space on a birth certificate.

That changed earlier this year when genealogists were able to use a DNA sample to help find a name – and some relatives.

Young says he can finally put his mind to rest.

“If I hadn’t known what I do know now,” he said. “I think I would still felt that my left arm or my right arm wasn’t fully formed. Family is everything, it’s the major pillar of life in humanity.”

The Center for Jewish History hopes to create more stories like Young’s through its new DNA test kit program.

AP video shot by Ted Shaffrey