TV show tell of Scottish Holocaust victim
FASCINATING new details about a long lost ring that belonged to a brave Scot who died in Auschwitz will be revealed on the Antiques Roadshow tomorrow, Sunday January 15.
Holocaust victim, Jane Haining’s jewellery is being analysed by expert John Benjamin for a special episode of the iconic BBC One flagship programme to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
He will share with her two nieces, Deirdre McDowell and Jane McIvor, his professional opinion that casts fresh light on the origins of the priceless artefact, which was recently returned to the Church of Scotland offices in Edinburgh.
The two women will discuss with Mr Benjamin the extraordinary story of how Miss Haining was arrested by the Nazis in 1944 for looking after Jewish girls at the Kirk-run Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary.
The former boarding house matron’s handwritten will, a copy of the last letter she wrote while imprisoned in the concentration camp and photographs will also feature on the programme.
Taking part was a proud and emotional experience for the two sisters from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, whose mother Agnes O’Brien was the matron’s half- sister.
They grew up hearing stories about their courageous and inspirational aunt who repeatedly refused orders from the Church to return home after the Second World War broke out because ‘her girls needed her in days of darkness’.
For four long years Miss Haining, who grew up in Dunscore near Dumfries, protected the pupils from the emerging threat of the Final Solution until she was betrayed by the school cook’s son-in-law whom she caught stealing scarce food.
She was arrested by the Gestapo in April 1944 and former pupil Agnes Rostas recently revealed that her haunting last words to sobbing children were ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be back by lunch’.
Miss Haining never returned to the Scottish Mission, where she worked between 1932- 44, and died in the notorious camp in Nazi- occupied Poland three months later at the age of 47.
Mrs McDowell said: ‘She was such a courageous woman, very determined, considerate and kind.
‘She followed the Christian example by looking after and caring for vulnerable children.
‘Her story is an example to us all and must continue to be told to benefit the next generation because the world should never forget the Holocaust.’
Miss Haining, who is likely to have perished in the gas chambers, was posthumously named as Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem’s sacred Yad Vashem in 1997 and awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government in 2010.
A new Heritage Centre will be opened at Dunscore Church later this year and will celebrate the life of Miss Haining, who was born at nearby Lochanhead farm in 1897.
Jane Haining was a Church of Scotland missionary.
The will of Holocaust victim Jane Haining.
Jane Haining’s ring.