6 June 1897|
Dunscore, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Died||16 August 1944
Auschwitz, occupied Poland
Jane Haining (6 June 1897 – 16 August 1944) was a Church of Scotland missionary. She worked in Budapest, where she was arrested by the Nazis in 1944. She died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz later that year. Haining is the only Scot to be officially honoured for giving her life to help Jews in the Holocaust.
Haining was born at Lochenhead Farm in Dunscore, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. She was the fifth child of Thomas Haining, a farmer, and his first wife, Jane Mathison, a farmer's daughter. She grew up as a member of the evangelical Craig church in Dunscore (Reformed Presbyterian until 1876, then Free Church of Scotland until 1900, and then United Free Church). She was educated at the village school, and won a scholarship to Dumfries Academy in 1909. She trained at the commercial college of Glasgow Athenaeum, and worked for 10 years as a secretary at a thread-maker's in Paisley. She lived in Pollokshields in Glasgow and attended Queen's Park West United Free Church.
She volunteered for service as a missionary in 1932, becoming matron of the girls' home at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary. The Scottish Mission in Budapest had been set up in 1841 "with a main focus on evangelizing to Hungarian Jews." The mission had established a school in 1846, with funds provided by Christian Jews. Haining looked after 50 of the school's 400 pupils (most of whom were Jewish), and quickly became fluent in Hungarian.
Second World War
She was holidaying in Cornwall in 1939 when the Second World War broke out and she immediately returned to Budapest. She was ordered to return to Scotland in 1940 but refused, determined to remain with her girls. After the German occupation of Hungary, its former allies in March 1944, she again refused to leave.
She was arrested in April 1944 and detained by the Gestapo, accused, amongst other things, of working among Jews and listening to the BBC. She admitted all the charges, except those of political activity. She was detained at Fő utca prison in Buda, and then moved to a holding camp in Kistarcsa. She was sent to Auschwitz in May 1944, where she was tattooed as prisoner 79467. She sent a last postcard on 15 July 1944, and died "in hospital" at Auschwitz on 17 July 1944, of "cachexia following intestinal catarrh", strangely her name is not recorded in the Auschwitz Death Books published by the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. She is one of a total of ten Scots – including two or three women – thought to have died in the Nazi extermination camps.
Personal items recovered
In 2016, personal effects belonging to Haining were discovered in the attic space of the Church of Scotland's head office in George Street in Edinburgh. These include a will, handwritten by Haining and dating from 1942, more than seventy photographs of the Jewish girls she had risked her life trying to save, and several documents outlining efforts to try to secure her release; one of which was a typed report from 1945 that Bishop László Ravasz of the Reformed Church in Hungary wrote to the Synod in Hungary about how he unsuccessfully tried to intervene with Hungarian authorities to procure Haining's release from prison, before she was sent to Auschwitz. The items will be placed in the National Library of Scotland.
Among the memorials to Jane Haining are two stained glass windows in Queen's Park Church of Scotland in Glasgow, where she venerated; a plaque in the little Kirk of Dunscore; two plaques in the Scottish mission in Budapest; and enrollment as a non-Jewish individual who is acknowledged as Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. A memorial cairn to Haining now stands between Dunscore Kirk and the village graveyard made possible by public donation.
However, the major remembrance for her must be the naming after her of the main riverside road on the Pest side between the Chain and Elizabeth bridges. (In 2010, Municipality of Budapest renamed a section of 'Pesti alsó rakpart' (Pest side lower embankment) to 'Jane Haining rakpart'.)
Pelicula Films are to produce a film about Haining titled There Are Mountains On The Road to Heaven. The film, a Hungarian co-production, will be backed by Scottish TV, Screen Screen and the European Commission. The director of the film will be Mark Littlewood and it will feature the talents of producer Ian Smith and screen writer Chris Dolan. The film will be based on interviews with four pupils who survived, Dr. Zsuzanna Pajs, Dr. Maria Kremer, Ibolya Suranyi (Budapest), and Annette Lantos (Washington).
Haining is also included in 'A Promised Land', a play by Raymond Ross.
Lynley Smith wrote a fictionalised diary based on Haining's story.
- Evolution of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, Reformed Church in Hungary
- A short history of the Budapest Scottish Church
- bbcnews.com Documents 'shed light' on Scotswoman killed at Auschwitz. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- The Sunday Herald - Scotland's award-winning independent newspaper at www.sundayherald.com
- Variety.com Special Report: MIP TV - Listings 2005 at www2.variety.com
- "Britons honoured for holocaust heroism". The Telegraph. 9 March 2010. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
- "Wartime Heroine Revealed". Scoop. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study 2006, by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- D. F. Wright, "Haining, Jane Mathison (1897–1944)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 30 March 2008
- Jane Haining, Scotland's Schindler, The Independent, 21 December 2008
- Queen's Park Church
- Jane Haining at Yad Vashem website
- Documents 'shed light' on Scotswoman killed at Auschwitz By Elizabeth Quigley, BBC Scotland news, 14 September 2016.