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On this day in history 1944, died Jane Haining.
Jane Haining was a Church of Scotland missionary, who was put to death in Auschwitz, a Nazi extermination camp.
Jane Haining was born in Dunscore, near Dumfries in 1897. She lost her mother at the age of five, and grew up to be a determined and independent woman. She was educated at Dumfries Academy, after which she worked as a thread-maker in Paisley. In 1932, at a Missionary meeting in Glasgow, she turned to a friend and said, prophetically “I have found my life’s work”.
She volunteered for service, as a matron of an orphanage at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest. When the Second World War came, she was ordered to return home, but resolutely refused, determined to remain with her charges. She wrote to her sister 'If these children need me in the days of sunshine, 'how much more do they need me in the days of darkness?'
After the Nazis took over Hungary, she was ordered to sew the yellow ‘Stars of David’ patch onto the clothing of the Jewish children. She continued to look after her children until March 1944, when she was denounced to the Nazi authorities and accused of espionage. Her Jewish charges were deported to Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi extermination camp, and Haining was arrested by the Gestapo. She was accused of working with Jews, a crime under Nazi law, and was sent to Auschwitz. On 27th July 1944, she died at Auschwitz. The death certificate, issued by the Nazi authorities, records the cause of death as ‘cachexia brought on by intestinal catarrh’. It is apparent that she was either worked to death by the Nazis, or else murdered in the gas chambers.
Jane Haining’s dedication to the children in her care, is commemorated by two stained glass windows in Queen's Park Church, Glasgow, where she used to worship. [Queen's Park Church, 170 Queen's Drive, Glasgow, G42 8QZ]. Also there is a commemorative plaque to her memory at her home parish church in Dunscore. [Dunscore Parish Church. Main Street, Dunscore, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire DG2 0TB]
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