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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: News of Jane Haining

Looking Back

Friday June 4 2021

Looking Back: News of Jane Haining

Jane Haining, a Church of Scotland missionary, died in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in July 1944 after refusing to leave the Jewish girls under her care in Budapest, Hungary.

In June 1946, Life and Work reported the first details the Church had received about the circumstances of her death.

A Gallant Scotswoman


LONG-AWAITED news of the matron of the Girls’ Home in the Scottish Mission in Budapest was recently received. In a letter to the Jewish Mission Committee, Bishop Ravasz tells what could not be told until now of her courage and sacrifice. Even now the information is meagre enough.

He writes:-

“On the 25th April, 1944, the agents of the Gestapo arrested and carried away Miss Haining, the matron of the Girls’ Home of the Scottish Mission. For her release I requested the support of the Regent, who learned of the case with deep regret and assured me of his sympathy for the Church of Scotland and all her workers.

“Then, along with State Secretary Mr. Miklos Mester, I called on the Prime Minister and begged him to make the strongest intervention for the release of Miss Haining. The Prime Minister, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, accordingly instructed his substitute, the Under Secretary, and I have no reason whatever to doubt tha the Under Secretary took the due steps. But to my request I received no reply.

“A final and sorrowful reply was a package which was delivered at the end of July to the Scottish Mission, and from which it could be ascertained that Miss Haining lost her life in a German concentration camp.

“The Hungarian Reformed Church surrounded with sympathy and high esteem this frail and heroic-spirited lady. Her superiors had three times insisted on her to go home, but she had always declined. Twofold are our griefs: being ourselves captives, we were not able to save her; and being trodden down, we had no power to stand up for her more effectively.”

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