Story of a southside heroine

Jane Haining
Jane Haining

REMEMBERED by some as Scotland’s Oskar Schindler, the story of Jane Haining is perhaps less widely publicised.

The South Glasgow Heritage and Environment Trust and Tram Direct theatre company hope to change that with a new play detailing her life and work.

Jane, born in Dumfries in 1897 before moving to Pollokshields, volunteered for a Church of Scotland mission to Budapest in 1932.

There, she served as a school teacher to 400 orphans and poor children — most Jewish — at the Scottish Missionary School.

As hostiliies began the church sent a recall for Jane — but she refused to leave her pupils behind.

After Nazi Germany invaded Hungary in 1944, Jane Haining was arrested. Shedied at Auschwitz-Birkenau that year: although official records say she passed away in hospital, it is unknown how she finally succumbed.

She is the only Scot to be recognised at Yad Vashem, the holocaust martyrs remembrance authority in Jerusalem, under the title Righteous Among Nations.

To Serve is to Resist, written by Clarkston man Ian Morland, celebrates the Queen’s Park church parishioner — fittingly staged in the same church this weekend.

Funded by Glasgow Life, the show features both professional Tram Direct actors and budding thespians from youth group Theatre École, also based in the church.

Director Isobel Barratt told The Extra: “The heritage trust approached us to write a play about Jane Haining, to bring her life to everyone’s notice.

“They wanted an inter-generational piece, so the professional actors and young people have come together, along with the church choir, to let people know what a wonderful person she must have been.

“The young people involved have said that they’d heard of people like Anne Frank before, but learning about Jane made them realise the extent of what happened during the war – and about the women involved, as well as the men”.

Jane’s southside roots have been previously commemorated — in fact, members of the Queen’s Park church may have noticed two stained glass windows dedicated to her, entitled Service and Sacrifice.

The team behind To Serve is to Resist hope that the play will honour Jane further.

Isobel, from Newlands, continued: “The play is very much steeped in the southside, and it highlights the valuable history and heritage present in the southside of Glasgow, which people don’t always realise.

“It’s unusual to see the Jewish community, the Church of Scotland, theatre groups and the heritage trust coming together — but it’s an absolutely fascinating story and more people should know about it.

“We’re just happy to celebrate this woman’s life, and what she managed to achieve”.

n To Serve is to Resist is on at Queen’s Park church Friday (7pm) and Saturday (2pm and 7pm). Tickets cost £7 (£6 concession), from 423 6037 or manager@tramdirect.com.