New street named after 'courageous' missionary who died in Auschwitz

A new street has been named in honour of a Church of Scotland missionary who died in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

‘Haining Park' near Loanhead in Midlothian recognises the courage and sacrifice of Jane Haining who refused to abandon Jewish girls in her care during the Holocaust.

She was the matron at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary between 1932 and 1944 – the year she was arrested and taken to the extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where she died aged 47.

Haining-Park
Haining Park has been named in honour of Jane Haining who defied the Nazis during World War Two.

The residential street sign was unveiled yesterday by the Hungarian Consul in Scotland, Tibor Csaba Szendrei, who declared it open with a wave of the Hungarian flag.

Rev Graham Duffin, minister of Loanhead Parish Church, attended the small ceremony on behalf of the Church along with the Provost of Midlothian, Councillor Peter Smaill whose idea it was to honour Miss Haining in this way.

Born in 1897 in the village of Dunscore in Dumfries and Galloway, Miss Haining's selfless bravery in protecting the children in her care at the expense of her own life led to her being posthumously awarded a Heroine of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government.

Tremendous courage

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.

Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum of the Church of Scotland, said: "We are delighted that Haining Park in Loanhead has been named after Jane Haining who showed tremendous courage in the face of intolerable evil during a dark period of history.

"A woman of deep Christian faith, she was fully aware of the risks she was taking but repeatedly refused to leave Budapest and return home to Scotland as the war engulfed Europe.

"Jane was determined to continue doing her duty and stick to her post, saying ‘If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?'.

"She was simultaneously an ordinary and extraordinary woman and her story is one of heroism and personal sacrifice and reminds us that when we feel powerless, there is always something that we can do.

"Her story is moving, humbling, heart-breaking and inspirational and we hope that this honour will help keep her memory alive for generations to come."

Jane Haining
Jane Haining

Haining Park is within the Ashgrove development which was built by developer, Dandara.

Councillor Smaill said: "Loanhead already has associations with Margaret of Scotland, Scotland's saintly Queen, who was born in Hungary in 1045 AD, and as a county, Midlothian has for some years been twinned with Esztergom in Hungary, the seat of Christianity there.

"In 2010 the Hungarian capital perpetuated the memory of Jane Haining, by calling Jane Haining Rakpart, a street next to the Danube in Budapest, after her.

"It is thus time to honour this modern heroine in her own land and to celebrate our Hungarian friendship in return"

Betrayed

Iain Innes, managing director of Dandara East Scotland, also attended the street sign unveiling event.

He said: "Dandara is very pleased to be able to honour the life of Jane Haining at our Ashgrove development, and to play our part to help keep her name alive."

Miss Haining was on holiday in the UK when World War Two war broke out in 1939 and immediately returned to Budapest to be with "her" girls.

Despite being under surveillance, the blue eyed "house mother" managed to keep the children safe for four long years of hardship until she was betrayed by the cook's son-in-law whom she caught eating scarce food intended for the girls.

Miss Haining, a former Dux at Dumfries Academy who was fluent in Hungarian and German, was arrested by two Gestapo officers in March 1944 and initially imprisoned in Budapest.

She was charged with eight offences - working amongst the Jews; weeping when seeing the girls attend class wearing yellow stars; dismissing her housekeeper; listening to news broadcasts on the BBC; having many British visitors; being active in politics; visiting British prisoners of war and sending British prisoners of war parcels.

Miss Haining vehemently denied talking about or meddling in politics and was transported to Auschwitz on the 14th of May, 1944.

She was given the number 79467 and died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp on the 17th of August 1944.

Miss Haining's 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.