Budapest’s Holocaust Memorial Centre has opened an exhibit on Jane Haining, a missionary for the Church of Scotland who died in Auschwitz in at the age of 47 after being arrested in 1944. She had refused to return to Scotland, continuing to work at the school, where 400 of the students were Jewish.
From Sight Magazine:
Zoltan Toth-Heinemann, a spokesman at the Holocaust Memorial Center, said Ms Haining was “a unique figure” in Hungary’s Holocaust history “because all the other players including the Holocaust rescuers or victims or perpetrators were local people”.
He stressed that she was “the only one who had the chance to choose to stay there to risk her life to save the children or just leave and come to back to Britain”.
Her detention underscored Hungary’s controversial role in the Holocaust, or Shoah, in which at least 600,000 Hungarian Jews died. Hungary was a close ally of Nazi-Germany during most of the war.
Recently discovered personal items show that late Bishop László Ravasz of the Reformed Church in Hungary wrote to his Synod about how he unsuccessfully tried to intervene with Hungarian authorities to enable Ms Haining’s release from prison before she was sent to Auschwitz. The items were placed in the National Library of Scotland.
Haining’s efforts were not in vain. From the BBC:
Although her students were able to escape to safety, Ms Haining was charged with working among Jews and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
She died in a gas chamber there.
In more recent years, she has been remembered for her bravery and sacrifice:
Budapest named a central section of the Danube river embankment after Ms Haining in 2010. Israel awarded the martyred missionary the title Righteous Among the Nations in 1997. (Sight Magazine)
Teacher Fiona Malcolm tells Haining’s story to her third-year students, says Sight:
“I am in Danscore the village where Jane Haining was raised. It breaks my heart when I look around, and I see that beautiful part of Scotland where she grew up and how she ended her days in the hellhole that was Auschwitz.”
The exhibit will run until March 2018.
Photo from BBC page on Jane Haining.