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Legacy of Scots missionary heroine to feature in Jewish heritage project

 

The life of Jane Haining will be marked by a new project launched ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day

A new group has been formed to promote the legacy of a Scot who gave her life to protect Jewish schoolgirls during World War Two ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day. 

The Jane Haining Project was established by a cohort of Christian and Jewish people who believe that her story is very relevant today in light of growing levels of antisemitism, racism, and intolerance.

The project is developing plans with public agencies to launch a national essay writing competition in secondary schools and a digital heritage trail app of notable places connected to the Church of Scotland missionary who died in Auschwitz and the Jewish community.

Launching the ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Rev Ian Alexander, a Kirk minister and member of the project committee, said: "Jane Haining showed tremendous courage in the face of intolerable evil and her heart-breaking and inspirational story is as important today as ever.

Rev Ian Alexander studies artefacts relating to Jane

"We hope that the exciting two core activities that are currently being developed will help keep her memory alive for generations to come."

Miss Haining was the matron at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary and refused to abandon her girls after the Second World War broke out in 1939, even though she knew her life was in danger.

She was determined to continue doing her duty and famously said: “If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?”

The farmer's daughter from the village of Dunscore in Dumfries and Galloway started working at the school in 1932 and was eventually arrested in 1944 and taken to Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland where she died at the age of 47.

Jane Haining

The Jane Haining project emerged from the West of Scotland branch of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) after author Mary Miller gave a talk about her book, Jane Haining: A Life of Love and Courage.

James Roberts, Christian programme manager with CCJ, is supporting the group and said the primary objective is to bring people together.

"Jane Haining’s story is one that young people can identify with and it evokes a strong emotional response,” he said.

"By refusing to be a bystander, she demonstrated her loving kindness, her sense of fairness, justice and solidarity and her contempt of discrimination in her refusal to treat her Jewish pupils as 'the other'.

"In this light, the project aims to increase understanding, acceptance and kindness between individuals from different cultures and religious backgrounds and equip people to speak out against prejudice and take action to challenge antisemitism and discrimination.”

In addition to Dunscore, Jane Haining has links to Dumfries, Glasgow and Paisley and Mr Roberts said a heritage trail would allow people to connect with her story in a meaningful and tangible way in addition to learning about Scotland's Jewish heritage.

James Roberts

Miss Haining's selfless bravery led to her being posthumously awarded a Heroine of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government.

She is the only Scot to be named Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel's memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

Her life is celebrated at Dunscore Church and Queen's Park Govanhill Church in Glasgow - the church she attended while living in the city prior to her move to Budapest.

Last year, a new residential street in Loanhead, Midlothian was named "Haining Park" in her memory.

 

Comments

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Dr James McAulay
5 months ago

I am very proud of the selfless work and eventual self-sacrifice of this faithful Christian and fellow Scot. May she be an example to us all. She showed similar qualities to Eric Liddell ('Chariots of Fire') who died in a prisoner of war camp in Singapore.

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SK Soon
5 months ago

I read about Jane Haining with great interest and she certainly displayed similar qualities with Eric Liddell who is perhaps more well-known than Jane Haining. Eric Liddell was born in China, serve God in China during the Japanese occupation in China, and died in China as well, not Singapore.

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Michael Brown
5 months ago

As the son and grandson of survivors and nephew and cousin of countless Holocaust victims, I want to praise this amazing woman who paid the ultimate price for having principles. May her memory be a blessing! Baruch Dayan HaEmet. May she Rest In Peace.

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Michael Brown
5 months ago

As the son and grandson of survivors and nephew and cousin of countless Holocaust victims, I want to praise this amazing woman who paid the ultimate price for having principles. May her memory be a blessing! Baruch Dayan HaEmet. May she Rest In Peace.