Jane Haining

A Life of Love and Courage

by Mary Miller

Jane Haining

The first full biography of one of Scotland’s greatest daughters and the only Scot to be officially honoured for giving her life to help Jews during the Holocaust

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‘Haining’s is a terrible story but it is also an inspiring one, as as the stories of all those who looked evil in the face, and “no” to it’ – Catholic Herald

‘Mary Miller has written a detailed and very moving biography and Jane Haining is widely recognised as a woman of rare and noble character. Her story is both moving and ultimately horrifying and Miller tells it extremely well’ – Allan Massie, Scotsman

‘The story of a woman so committed to staying with her students as a missionary teacher that she risked and indeed suffered in the Holocaust is well told in this biography by Mary Miller’ – Methodist Recorder

‘In this well-researched and clearly written book Mary Miller pieces together the fragments of Jane Haining’s life. Haining’s firm moral compass emerges clearly, making her story heroic as well as heart-rending. Materially, she may have left little behind, but her legacy is enduring’ – Church Times

‘Meticulously researched, beautifully written and deeply moving. Mary Miller shows Jane not as a saint but as a living, breathing often laughing person. A fine biography about a fine and brave woman’ – Maggie Craig

‘The definitive account of the life of the Dumfriesshire-born girl. Mary Miller has meticulously researched Jane Haining’s life and created a seamless and compelling acount’ – Life and Work

Jane Haining was undoubtedly one of Scotland’s heroines.

A farmer’s daughter from Galloway in south-west Scotland, Jane went to work at the Scottish Jewish Mission School in Budapest in 1932, where she was a boarding school matron in charge of around 50 orphan girls. The school had 400 pupils, most of them Jewish. Jane was back in the UK on holiday when war broke out in 1939, but she immediately went back to Hungary to do all she could to protect the children at the school. She refused to leave in 1940, and again ignored orders to flee the country in March 1944 when Hungary was invaded by the Nazis. She remained with her pupils, writing ‘if these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness’.”

Her brave persistence led to her arrest in by the Gestapo in April 1944, for “offences” that included spying, working with Jews and listening to the BBC. She died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz just a few months later, at the age of 47. Her courage and self-sacrifice, her choice to stay and to protect the children in her care, has made her an inspiration to many.

Mary Miller was a founder member and Director of the Jeely Piece Club, sharing with other local families in establishing self-help and mutual support for parents and children in a Glasgow housing scheme. Later specialising in the care of traumatised children, she carried out a similar role for HIV+ orphans in rural Zimbabwe from 2007-2012. Named Evening Times ‘International Scotswoman of the Year’ in 2009, her lifelong interest in the care of children in difficult situations drew her to explore Jane Haining’s devotion to the Jewish girls in her care.


ISBN: 9781780275758

Publication date: 04/04/2019

Format: Hardback

Extent: 240

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon , History