Scottish missionary 'hero' who died in Auschwitz to be honoured in Budapest

An 'incredible' Scottish missionary who died helping protect Jewish schoolgirls in Nazi Germany is to be honoured in her adopted city of Budapest.

Jane Haining was a matron at the Scottish Mission School during the Second World War and will be the focus of a new exhibition the Holocaust Memorial Centre in the Hungarian capital.

Jane Haining died in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.Church of Scotland

Her story had been 'neglected' by the city, spokesman Zoltan Toth-Heinmann said of the Church of Scotland missionary, describing her as a 'unique and important' figure.

Haining was ordered to return by Church of Scotland officials but refused, saying: 'If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?'

She was arrested in 1944, charged with working with Jews and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she died aged 47.

The missionary grew up in Dunscore, near Dumfries, and Toth-Heinmann visited Queen's Park Church in Glasgow, where she worshipped before moving to Budapest in 1932.

Dr Gabor Maklari and Zoltan Toth-Heinemann of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, Hungary pictured at a memorial cairn to Jane Haining near Dunscore Parish Church.Church of Scotland

'Jane Haining's story is an important part of the Holocaust history in Budapest, and sometimes, for the general public, it might be neglected,' he said.

'She was unique because all the other players - rescuers, victims and perpetrators - were local people.

'She was the only one who had the chance to choose if she would stay there and risk her life to save children or just leave and return to Scotland.'

He added he wanted as many people as possible to know of her story and hoped the exhibition would 'illustrate her heroism to visitors'.

He said: 'The primary objective will be the education of young people so they can learn that sometimes it is important to make a sacrifice.

'We have various items relating to her life - artefacts, photographs and documents - which will, along with testimonies from some of her former pupils, bring her story closer to visitors.'

Rev Ian Alexander, secretary of the Church of Scotland world mission council, said: 'Jane Haining's story is heart-breaking, but also truly inspirational.'