Sally Magnusson goes in search of Jane Haining, a courageous yet astonishingly little-known Scottish heroine of the Second World War. The story begins in Dunscore, Dumfries and Galloway — where Haining was born in 1897 — and ends behind the barbed-wire fences of Auschwitz where she was sent after being convicted of trumped up charges of espionage and sympathising with the Jews during her time as matron of the Scottish Mission School in Budapest. She died a few months later in July 1944. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of her death at Auschwitz.
The programme follows Sally as she pieces together a picture of this quiet, self-effacing missionary, who left Scotland to become the matron of a Hungarian girls’ school in 1932 and found herself providing the Jewish girls and orphans under her charge with love and security in a world that was becoming increasingly dangerous and hate-filled. Despite multiple pleas from the Church of Scotland for her return, Haining refused to abandon her post as the war intensified and the Nazis took over Hungary. That decision cost her her life.