Exhibition tribute to Christian martyr Jane Haining

A new exhibition on the life of a Scottish woman who died trying to save Jewish schoolgirls in Nazi-occupied Hungary opened this week at Wigtown Parish Church.

By Roy Beers
Saturday, 28th September 2019, 5:04 pm
The life of Jane Haining, pictured right, is the theme of a new exhibition.
The life of Jane Haining, pictured right, is the theme of a new exhibition.

It follows the spectacular march through Budapest earlier this year organised by Falkirk-born British ambassador Iain Lindsay OBE for Hungary’s biggest Holocaust memorial event.

Teacher and Christian martyr Jane Haining, who was in effect murdered for her beliefs, was the “face” of the event.

Iain Lindsay spent a year planning the special commemoration of Jane, a Church of Scotland missionary who gave her life for the children in her care, and many refugees, during the dark days of the Second World War.

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Jane’s life previously inspired a drama project at Braes High School which led to a filmed version being screened at Dunscore, where she originally lived.

There are memorials to her in Budapest, Glasgow and Israel.

She could easily have gone home to Britain in 1939 - possibly the only person at the Mission where she worked able to do so - but refused to abandon, as she saw it, the many Jewish girls in her care.

In 1944 she was betrayed, arrested by the Gestapo, and sent to the Nazis’ Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland, where she died two months later, aged 47.

The new exhibition on her life features photographs, documents, letters and other artefacts.

Rev Eric Boyle, minister of Wigtown and Kirkcowan Parish Church, said: “Jane Haining was a courageous and compassionate woman whose life was cut short during a dark period of history and it is a privilege and honour to host this exhibition.”

The exhibition coincides with the Wigtown Book Festival, which opened yesterday.

Mary Miller, author of Jane Haining – a Life of Love and Courage, read from her book at the church.