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DNA test helps reunite woman with long-lost cousin 80 years after Holocaust separated their families

Having grown up with no hope of connecting with her father's side of the family, this discovery came as an utter shock for Hellman.

DNA test helps reunite woman with long-lost cousin 80 years after Holocaust separated their families
Cover Image Source: YouTube | @myheritage

Imagine living your whole life not knowing that you have a close relative living in a different part of the world. Years after the World War II Holocaust, many people showed interest in finding and reuniting with their long-lost family. Some have even shared their wholesome reunion on the internet. Recently, one such reunion happened, thanks to My Heritage, an online genealogy service provider. Ann Meddin Hellman, a South Carolina resident, found her cousin who was a Holocaust survivor currently living in Israel. This out-of-the-blue revelation surprised Hellman as she had no hope of knowing about her father's side relatives, as per NBC.

A group of child survivors behind a barbed wire fence at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland, on the day of the camp’s liberation by the Red Army, 27th January 1945. Photo taken by Red Army photographer Captain Alexander Vorontsov (Photo by Alexander Vorontsov/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
A group of child survivors behind a barbed wire fence at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland, on the day of the camp’s liberation by the Red Army, 27th January 1945. Photo taken by Red Army photographer Captain Alexander Vorontsov (Photo by Alexander Vorontsov/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Around five months ago, Hellman was informed by the genealogy platform that she has an 83-year-old cousin, Shalom Korai. All that she knew about his family was that they were annihilated in the Holocaust and so this news came as a huge surprise. "We would have never found him. There was no way that I could have looked him up in a phone book or found him under any circumstances. I bet there would have been no other way besides DNA," she told the media channel. On learning about her close relative, Hellman even let out a loud scream of joy.



 

Korai had gone through some tough years during his early life. The 83-year-old was abandoned in a potato sack in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941 when was just 2 years old. A kind-hearted Jewish teacher and psychologist Lena Küchler-Silberman, who had previously rescued around 100 children during the distressing war, found him and gave him a new life. He then moved to Israel in 1949 where he spent the rest of his entire life. But fate had other plans. A researcher digging deep into the history of those kids rescued during the war wanted to examine Korai's DNA and the results revealed about his cousin in the United States.

Ever since she heard about her cousin, Hellman had been in constant touch with him through WhatsApp video calls. "What I do is I write him a note and I write it in English. I put it in Google Translate and let them turn it into Hebrew and I send him both of those and he writes back," shared Hellman who is a mother and a grandmother. She revealed how difficult it was to track Korai since he was previously named, Petro Korczak. "It's a name given to those who were born in the war and given gentile names to hide them," Korai explained in a YouTube video shared by My Heritage.

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 24: An elderly visitor walks among stellae at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which commemorates Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust, on January 24, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 24: An elderly visitor walks among stellae at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which commemorates Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust, on January 24, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 

What made Hellman so sure that Korai was her cousin was his pictures. The Holocaust survivor had a great resemblance with her brother and she said, "He is definitely a Meddin." So far, the two cousins haven't met each other in person which they plan to do soon this summer along with many other family members. Expressing his overwhelming emotions, Korai said, "I was born into this reality and never knew anything else. I didn’t even know the concept of parents." The man who once thought that he was orphaned has now gained a beautiful family. Though separated by distance, they are connected by hearts.



 

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