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Sun, May 19

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online via Zoom

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Join us on May 19 at 1 p.m. CDT when Jennifer Mendelsohn, co-founder of the Center for Jewish History's DNA Reunion Project, now called The Holocaust Reunion Project, will speak about Holocaust survivors and their children reunited with lost or unknown relatives through DNA analysis.

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Reunited and It Feels So Good
Reunited and It Feels So Good

Time & Location

May 19, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT

online via Zoom

About The Event

A 95-year-old Holocaust survivor whose entire family was lost learns she has three living first cousins. A Holocaust orphan lives her entire life without knowing her true identity. Four years after her death, the woman's daughter is finally reunited with her biological family thanks to a DNA test. A child survivor of Theresienstadt finally learns the identity of his unknown father. 

Join us on May 19 at 1 p.m. CDT when Jennifer Mendelsohn will present Reunited and It Feels so Good, about Holocaust survivors and their children reunited with lost or unknown relatives through DNA analysis. This talk will detail some of the amazing and unexpected Holocaust reunions Jennifer Mendelsohn has helped orchestrate through a blend of dogged paper trail research and careful DNA analysis. In 2022, Mendelsohn co-founded the DNA Reunion Project at the Center for Jewish History, a first-of-its kind effort to provide free DNA testing to Holocaust survivors and their children. Now called The Holocaust Reunion Project, the project has tested over 1,000 survivors and enabled scores of successful connections. In this presentation, Mendelsohn shows how genetic genealogy can benefit the Holocaust survivor community, with examples of how DNA has provided closure and led to heartwarming reunions.

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a genealogist specializing in helping Eastern European Jewish families shattered by the Holocaust reclaim their history. Her journey began in 2013, when she reunited her husband's grandmother—a Polish Holocaust survivor who had lost her entire immediate family and most of her extended family—with three living first cousins she had never known. Since then, she has worked on scores of cases, solving complex family mysteries using a blend of traditional and genetic genealogy. Her sleuthing was featured in the 2019 bestseller Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. In 2022, she co-founded the DNA Reunion Project at the Center for Jewish History, which seeks to promote DNA testing as a tool for helping Holocaust survivors find family.

Mendelsohn is also known for the innovative use of genealogy as a tool for activism. She created the viral hashtag  #resistancegenealogy, which uses genealogical and historical records to fight disinformation and honor America’s immigrant past. The project received international media attention, including being featured on CNN.com, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News. A native Long Islander now based in Baltimore, Mendelsohn serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and is the administrator of Facebook's Jewish Genetic Genealogy group, with over 10,000 members worldwide.

The program will take place on-line via Zoom. Questions can be emailed to MNJGS at https://www.mnjgs.org/contact. The program is free for MNJGS members, $5 for non-members. Payments can be made at https://www.mnjgs.org/support-us.

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