Scottish wartime heroine honoured at Midlothian development

HOUSEBUILDER Dandara East Scotland has hosted a small road-naming ceremony to recognise the courage and sacrifice of Jane Haining, a Church of Scotland missionary and Matron of the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, who died in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

Haining Park, which is located at Dandara’s Ashgrove development near Loanhead, Midlothian, was officially unveiled by the Hungarian Consul in Scotland, Tibor Csaba Szendrei.

Born in 1897 in the Scottish village of Dunscore, Jane Haining studied at Dumfries Academy where she became fluent in Hungarian and German. She went on to become Matron of the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, a day and boarding school run by the Church of Scotland for over 300 Christian and Jewish girls, some of whom were orphans.

Jane’s bravery in protecting the children in her care at the expense of her own life led to her being posthumously awarded a Heroine of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government, and becoming the only Scot to be named Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

The idea to honour Jane’s memory in this way was suggested by councillor Peter Smaill, the Provost of Midlothian. He said, “Loanhead already has associations with Margaret of Scotland, Scotland’s saintly Queen, who was born in Hungary in 1045 AD, and as a county, Midlothian has for some years been twinned with Esztergom in Hungary, the seat of Christianity there. In 2010 the Hungarian capital perpetuated the memory of Jane Haining, by calling Jane Haining Rakpart, a street next to the Danube in Budapest, after her.

“It is thus time to honour this modern heroine in her own land, and to celebrate our Hungarian friendship in return.”

The ceremony was also attended by Provost Smaill, Iain Innes (MD of Dandara East Scotland) and the local Church of Scotland Minister, Rev Graham Duffin from Loanhead Parish Church.

The Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum of the Church of Scotland, commented, “We are delighted that Haining Park in Loanhead has been named after Jane Haining who showed tremendous courage in the face of intolerable evil during a dark period of history. A woman of deep Christian faith, she was fully aware of the risks she was taking but repeatedly refused to leave Budapest and return home to Scotland as the war engulfed Europe.

“She was simultaneously an ordinary and extraordinary woman and her story is one of heroism and personal sacrifice and reminds us that when we feel powerless, there is always something that we can do. Her story is moving, humbling, heart-breaking and inspirational and we hope that this honour will help keep her memory alive for generations to come.”

Iain Innes, MD of Dandara East Scotland, added, “Dandara is very pleased to be able to honour the life of Jane Haining at our Ashgrove development, and to play our part to help keep her name alive.”