print this page

Hungary honours Scottish Missionary

14.08.2017

A special exhibition in honour of Scottish missionary Jane Haining will open this autumn in the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest. Miss Haining, who grew up near Dumfries, served as Matron at the Scottish Mission school in Budapest during the 1930s and 1940s. Against advice from Church of Scotland officials, Miss Haining remained in Budapest during the Holocaust. Arrested in 1944 and charged with working with Jews, Miss Haining was taken to the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in occupied Poland where she died aged 47.

Zoltan Toth-Heinmann, Communication Officer at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest and a member of the Hungarian Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, described the  missionary as a "unique and important" figure whose story has been "neglected". Mr Toth-Heinmann added: "Miss Haining was unique because all the other players - rescuers, victims and perpetrators - were local people. She was the only one who had the chance to choose if she would stay there and risk her life to save children or just leave and return to Scotland."

Rev Ian Alexander, Secretary of the Church of Scotland World Mission Council, said: "Jane Haining's story is heart-breaking, but also truly inspirational.

"Scottish missionaries were advised to return home from Europe during the dark days of the Second World War, but Jane declined, writing: 'If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?'"

Miss Haining is the only Scot to be officially honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel for giving her life to help protect Jews during the Holocaust.