The Shoah Impacts My DNA Relatives

24 Apr

Today I went on my 23 and Me account to access some information.  I manage both my account and that of my now deceased father, since I am the one who had him provide a sample about six months before he passed away.  I am so glad I did that.  It has provided me with my father’s Y chromosome information, which I otherwise would not have had.

I have over 1100 relatives on 23 and Me.  Most are third or distant cousins.  But today I had a revelation.  An unhappy one I must say.  There are 49 pages of relatives.  I just started scanning them.  And page after page after page, I kept seeing the same words, “on your father’s side,” after every entry.  Over and over again, not a single relative from my mother’s side. NO close relatives.  No distant relatives.

I started to cry.

Then I finally found ONE.  One distant relative. One.  I know that there were cousins who survived the Shoah. Not many.  And there were a few relatives already here in the USA. But I guess they are not on 23 and Me.  But in reality, most of my mother’s relatives perished.  She had one aunt and two uncles who survived. But among them, they only had two living children.  I know them well.   They also had descendants, I am happy to report.  Some live here in the USA, others in Israel.

But all those distant relatives are GONE.  Those distant relatives who share bits of my Dad’s and my DNA are welcome. But the missing ones from my mother’s side are so obviously a result of the Shoah that it reminds me of the horror of the loss.  I should have an equal number of distant relatives from my mother.  Instead of 1100 people, there should be 2200 people who share a bit of my DNA.

I am feeling a sense of loss I have not felt before.  Maybe because I am working on an article about my grandparents’ survival story.  So I am already feeling the dread of reliving their sorrow over their family’s loss.  But this was a blatant reminder that my family really is not like every other.

11 Responses to “The Shoah Impacts My DNA Relatives”

  1. Amy April 24, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    What a terrible revelation. And you’ve made me realize I really should test my father. I tested my mother and assumed that anyone who matched me but didn’t match her would be enough to identify paternal relatives. But maybe that’s not true.

    I am so sorry for all the losses. All of our losses. And all those lost were truly losses for us all.

    • zicharon April 24, 2018 at 10:30 am #

      Unfortunately I am unable to test my Mom. You should have your dad tested!!

      • Amy April 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

        I know…but he can be very difficult and ornery. And he’s 91 and not in the best health. I should have done it three years ago when I did my mother…

      • zicharon April 24, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

        Explain how important it is to you and his grandchildren? Good luck!

      • Amy April 24, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

        Hmm, maybe I should hire a third party to do it. Want a job? 🙂

      • zicharon April 24, 2018 at 12:58 pm #

        I will write a script focusing on all his grandchildren and great grandchildren. And how he is leaving them a legacy. You can do it!!😊

      • Amy April 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

        Oh, it’s not finding the words—it’s finding the nerve! 🙂 But I just ordered a kit from FTDNA—they’re about as cheap as they’re going to get at $49, so I figured it’s worth the risk financially anyway.

      • zicharon April 24, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

        Sending positive energy!!

  2. Luanne April 24, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Oh wow, what a horrible dawning realization of the enormity of the loss to your family. I am so sorry!

    • zicharon April 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

      Yes. That is what I felt. And overwhelming epiphany.

      • Luanne April 24, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

        I could sense it in what you wrote. It’s chilling and so deeply sad.

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