Jane Haining

6 June 1897 - 17 July 1944

Scottish Missionary

Jane Haining was a Church of Scotland missionary. She worked in Budapest, where she was arrested by the Nazis in 1944. She died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz later that year.

Haining was born at Lochenhead Farm in Dunscore, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. She was the fifth child of Thomas Haining, a farmer, and his first wife, Jane Mathison, a farmer's daughter. She grew up as a member of the evangelical Craig church in Dunscore. She was educated at the village school, and won a scholarship to Dumfries Academy in 1909. She trained at the commercial college of Glasgow Athenaeum, and worked for 10 years as a secretary at a threadmaker's in Paisley. She lived in Pollokshields in Glasgow and attended Queen's Park West United Free Church.

She volunteered for service as a missionary in 1932, becoming matron of the girls' home at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary. The Scottish Mission in Budapest had been set up in 1841 "with a main focus on evangelizing to Hungarian Jews.". The mission had established a school in 1846, with funds provided by Christian Jews. Haining looked after 50 of the school's 400 pupils (most of whom were Jewish), and quickly became fluent in Hungarian.

She was holidaying in Cornwall in 1939 when the Second World War broke out and she immediately returned to Budapest. She was ordered to return to Scotland in 1940 but refused, determined to remain with her girls. After the Nazi invasion of Hungary in March 1944, she again refused to leave.

She was arrested in April 1944 and detained by the Gestapo, accused, amongst other things, of working among Jews and listening to the BBC. She admitted all the charges, except those of political activity. She was detained at Fő utca prison in Buda, and then moved to a holding camp in Kistarcsa. She was sent to Auschwitz in May 1944, where she was tattooed as prisoner 79467. She sent a last postcard on 15 July 1944, and died "in hospital" at Auschwitz on 17 July 1944, of "cachexia following intestinal catarrh", although it is thought that she may have died in the gas chambers. She is one of a total of ten Scots – including two or three women – thought to have died in the Nazi extermination camps.

One of the major memorials for Jane is the naming after her of the main riverside road on the Pest side between the Chain and Elizabeth bridges.

Pelicula Films are to produce a film about Haining titled There Are Mountains On The Road to Heaven. The film will be based on interviews with four pupils who survived, Dr. Zsuzanna Pajs, Dr. Maria Kremer, Ibolya Suranyi (Budapest), and Annette Lantos (Washington).

In 2010, Haining was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.


To make your own nomination download the nomination form here