In the past year, research by two dedicated informal teams revealed the identity of two women who were Jewish babies saved and brought up by Polish families. JRI-Poland is proud that our database of online and offline records played a critical role in both cases.
In one case, the search started in 2003, the more recent one in 2014. While we knew the towns/areas where these babies were born, the incorrectly ascertained town in the first case and the multitude of town records in the second made it impossible to even begin to conjecture their heritage. In the end, it was only through a succession of DNA matches in the past year - in conjunction with building family trees made possible by JRI-Poland data - that the identities of both babies were finally revealed.
Which brings me to the subject line of this post, "DNA tests are not only important for you! They are vital for Hidden Children"
When family and friends ask "why get a DNA test?" I suggest you refer them to this article in the Canadian Jewish News. It stresses that point that many of us have been preaching for years. (When you read the article, it will be evident why I am so pleased that I had my own DNA tested.)
As I said in my lecture during Holocaust Education Week in Toronto last year, the reason is not only to satisfy one's own curiosity about family roots, but because the information could be crucial to the many people who are trying to recover their Jewish identity, or find relatives who were lost in the Holocaust. These are often Jewish children who were hidden or adopted by non-Jewish families during the Second World War.
I urge everyone...put yourself out there, make it possible for someone, somewhere to find you just as you want to find them. Dramatic stories of discovery like this, of establishing anew long-severed family connections, illustrate how technology provides new opportunities for those who want to know for themselves and future generations.
Hidden Children born in the years just before and in the early days of the war are now in their late 70s or 80s. The clock is ticking for them. They may have taken DNA tests. Have you and your extended family and friends?
Stanley Diamond, M.S.M.
Executive Director, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, Inc.