The sacrifice of war heroine Jane
Galloway group told of Dunscore woman’s work
Dunscore missionary Jane Haining was the subject of a talk at the Galloway Association of Glasgow’s winter meeting.
Retired primary school teacher Miss Morag Reid was guest speaker at the meeting in the city’s Netherlee Parish Church.
Her talk surrounded the life of Miss Haining, who was born in 1897 at Lochanhead Farm on the outskirts of Dunscore and died in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, aged 47.
Jane was the sixth child of Thomas and Jane Haining. When Jane was five her mother died in childbirth and the responsibility of bringing up the family was left to their father.
Jane, right, attended Dunscore Primary before moving on at the age of 12 to Dumfries Academy where she eventually became the dux.
In 1915 Jane moved to Glasgow where she entered a business course at the Athenaeum – on completion of which she was appointed a secretary at the Glasgow offices of J&P Coates.
During her time in Glasgow Jane became a member of Queens Park West Church, in Govanhill, where she became leader of the Sunday school. Life for Jane was to change dramatically when she read an advert in a newspaper asking for applications for the post of matron in a girls’ home of the Jewish Mission Station in Budapest. She terminated her work with Coates and entered the School of Domestic Science in Glasgow. On graduating, she succeeded in gaining the post of matron at the mission station. The year was 1932.
Jane settled quickly and was popular with both pupils and parents. She also learned to speak Hungarian.
In 1938, Germany annexed Austria and a large number of Jewish refugees entered Hungary. In 1939, Jane was on holiday in England when the Second World War broke out.
She immediately returned to Hungary to continue her work at the mission. Scottish missionaries were being advised to return home but Jane declined as she was determined to look after the children in her care.
In a letter home she wrote of her great sadness at being forced by the Nazis to sew the yellow star of David on to the uniforms of the children. She was often reduced to tears when carrying out this task as she was well aware of its significance.
The next few years were extremely difficult, being watched day and night. Food was scarce and when the girls’ shoes wore out she would cut up her leather luggage to make new soles.
In April 1944, the Gestapo arrived at the school and arrested Jane. She was charged with a number of offences including that she had worked among the Jews; she had wept when seeing the girls attend class wearing the yellow stars on their clothes and she listened to news broadcasts by the BBC.
Little is known about Jane after her arrest but it is believed she was held in prison in Budapest before being taken to Auschwitz. Her last letter to a friend was dated July 15, 1944.
By August she was dead. A death certificate indicated she had died of a pulmonary disease. It has never been confirmed whether this was correct or if she actually perished in the gas chambers.
In 1948, two stained glass windows were installed in Queens Park Church in memory of Jane. They are called Service and Sacrifice for the service she gave and the sacrifice she made.
A street in Budapest, alongside the Danube, has been named in her honour.
Morag’s talk was personal to association member Sheila Campbell, whose late mother was a second cousin of Jane.
Sheila attended the meeting with family members to hear the story of their ancestor. A few years ago Sheila and her husband Joe were on holiday in Budapest and visited the site of the mission school.
A vote of thanks was given by association president Angus Rex who thanked Morag for her most enthralling story.