Jane Haining lived from 6 June 1897 to 17 July 1944. She was a Church of Scotland missionary in Budapest who died in Auschwitz. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Jane Haining was born at Lochenhead Farm in Dunscore, eight miles north west of Dumfries. She was the fifth child of a farmer, and brought up in a deeply religious home as a member of the evangelical Craig church in Dunscore. In 1909 she won a scholarship to Dumfries Academy and then attended the commercial college of Glasgow's Athenaeum, before working for 10 years as a secretary at J & P Coates, Cotton Manufacturers, in Paisley. Outside work, her life focused on her local church, Queen's Park West United Free Church in Pollokshields.
A talk given at her church in Pollokshields about missionary work among Jewish communities in eastern Europe led Jane to volunteer. In 1932 she became matron of the girls' home at the Jewish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary, whose pupils were mainly Jewish. Jane was on holiday in Cornwall at the outbreak of the Second World War and immediately returned to Budapest to be with the girls in her care. She was ordered to return to Scotland in 1940, but refused, instead carrying on her work in Budapest. She again refused to leave the country after the Nazi invasion of Hungary in March 1944.
Jane Haining was arrested by the Gestapo in April 1944 and accused of working among Jews and listening to the BBC, charges she freely admitted. The following month she arrived at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and was tattooed as prisoner 79467. She died on 17 July 1944, possibly in a gas chamber, becoming one of about ten Scots killed in the Nazi death camps.
Jane Haining is remembered by two stained glass windows in Queen's Park Church, Glasgow; by plaques in the Kirk of Dunscore and the Scottish mission in Budapest; and as the only Scot to be honoured at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority) as "Righteous Among the Nations".
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".