The story of Jane Haining will bring tears to the eyes of many. It is one of incredible bravery, loyalty and what is widely regarded as the greatest evil the world has ever known.
A Church of Scotland missionary working at a school in Hungary when the Second World War began, she rejected advice from Kirk officials to return to Britain, deciding instead to stay to protect the Jewish girls in her care in their “days of darkness”.
One former pupil remembered Ms Haining as “kind, welcoming and warm”; another said they had been unaware who were Christian and who were Jewish in the school.
Ms Haining survived until 1944, when Nazi Germany invaded Hungary. She was arrested and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where she survived for two months.
It is not known if her death – one of more than a million at the camp – was the result of starvation, disease or poison gas.
The Nazis’ irrational hatred may have extinguished her life, but in remembering and honouring this gentle and courageous human being we help ensure that such evil will never return.