South Scotland

Jane Haining's ring to feature on Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow Image copyright Anna Gordon
Image caption Expert John Benjamin discussed the ring with Miss Haining's nieces

New details about a long lost ring that belonged to a Scottish woman who died in Auschwitz will be revealed on the Antiques Roadshow this weekend.

Jane Haining's jewellery will be analysed by expert John Benjamin for a special episode of the programme to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

He will share his professional opinion with her two nieces, Deirdre McDowell and Jane McIvor, from Northern Ireland.

Miss Haining died at the notorious camp in 1944, aged 47.

She had been arrested by the Nazis for looking after Jewish girls at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary, which was run by the Church of Scotland.

Her handwritten will, a copy of the last letter she wrote while imprisoned in the concentration camp and photographs, will also feature on the programme.

Image copyright Andrew O'Brien
Image caption Mr Benjamin will shed new light on a ring which was owned by Miss Haining
Image copyright Church of Scotland
Image caption Miss Haining's handwritten will is also to feature on the Antiques Roadshow

Taking part was an emotional experience for the two sisters from Londonderry, whose mother Agnes O'Brien was the matron's half-sister.

They grew up hearing stories about their aunt who repeatedly refused orders from the Church to return home after World War Two broke out because "her girls needed her in days of darkness".

Mrs McDowell described her aunt as "courageous, very determined, considerate and kind".

"She followed the Christian example by looking after and caring for vulnerable children," she said.

"Our family is honoured and humbled by Jane's actions. Her story is an example to us all and must continue to be told to benefit the next generation because the world should never forget the Holocaust."

The BBC One programme was filmed at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and features testimonies that uncover stories and belongings from more than 100 British Holocaust survivors and camp liberators.

Image copyright Church of Scotland
Image caption Jane Haining repeatedly refused orders from the Church of Scotland to return home during World War Two

In a break from tradition, the BBC decided not to put a value on the artefacts that featured on the programme.

Reflecting on the occasion, Mrs McIvor added: "It was a very moving day and a great honour to be here amongst people who have tremendous stories of courage and resilience.

"Jane was an amazing woman and did such tremendous work at the Scottish Mission in Budapest.

"She lived a life of faith and was a loving person who put everyone else first.

"I was named after Jane Haining so I consider her a guide and mentor. If we can do anything, in any small measure, that Jane did our world would be a different and much better place."

Miss Haining was posthumously named as Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem's sacred Yad Vashem in 1997 and awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government in 2010.

A new heritage centre will be opened at Dunscore Church, near Dumfries, later this year which will celebrate the life of Miss Haining, who was born at nearby Lochanhead farm in 1897.

Antiques Roadshow will be broadcast on BBC One at 19:30 on Sunday, 15 January, and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

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