instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Genetic Linkage

The Genomic Scars of Anti-Semitism

Tomorrow is the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass.” On November 9 and 10, 1938, Storm Troopers, Hitler Youth, and civilians rampaged through Nazi Germany, shattering the windows of more than a thousand synagogues, Jewish homes, and more than 7,000 businesses, arresting 30,000 Jews and transporting them to concentration camps. Some say the event marked the start of the Holocaust.

The anniversary comes just 13 days after the massacre of innocents at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a chilling reminder that the flame of anti-Semitism burns on.

History books and the media chronicle the hatred and misplaced sense of superiority that fuels destruction of a people, like the remembrances of Kristallnacht. But evidence also lies in our genomes. That’s the case for the Ashkenazi Jews, whose ancestry traces back to Eastern Europe, not so very long ago.

Continue reading at my DNA Science blog for Public Library of Science, where this article first appeared.

Be the first to comment