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Wartime Heroine Revealed

Wartime Heroine Revealed

Dunedin (Thursday, 21 November 2013) – Author Lynley Smith, a journalist for 15 years in New Zealand, will speak at the Dunedin City Library on 5 December during a South Island tour to launch her book From Matron to Martyr.

It was in Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau that Jane Haining gave her life for the sake of the Jewish children she had cared for in a girls’ home in Budapest. Jane had been working as a Scottish missionary in Budapest from 1933 until 1944, under the supervision of the Mission Director George AF Knight, who later moved to Dunedin and lectured at Knox College. As the hostilities intensified through World War 2, the Mission warned Jane to return to the safety of Scotland, but she refused to leave her girls to the horrors of the Nazis, even though it led to her death.

Lynley Smith, a distant relative of this courageous woman, became absorbed by her story after coming across it in a booklet handed down to her as a family heirloom. Compelled to learn more, Lynley resigned from her job and set off overseas to research Jane’s life and death.

“I had to know more, to understand why this woman would do such a thing.”

What followed was a five-month journey tracing the footsteps of Jane, and leading to her final destination at Auschwitz.

“I stood with other tourists in the parade yard at Auschwitz, where inmates had stood for hours each day in their flimsy summer weight uniforms in weather colder than I was experiencing. I thought of Jane and the anguish which must have invaded her soul. I was walking in her shoes, but I managed only about three minutes before escaping indoors again.”

From Matron to Martyr was published by Tate Publishing, USA, in 2012 and will be published next year in Hungarian.

From Matron to Martyr
Author Lynley Smith shares her insight into the remarkable story of Jane Haining – the woman who made the ultimate sacrifice in a Nazi concentration camp and became a beacon of hope.
Thursday 5 December, 6pm
4th Floor, City Library
Entry: FREE
Bookings: 03 474 3690 or


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