Author tells brave woman's story

20:14, Nov 28 2013
Lynley Smith
Lynley Smith holds her new book From Matron to Martyr and a book her Southland-born father, John Smith wrote in 1988, Southlanders At Heart.

Born and bred a Southlander, Lynley Smith has returned to her roots with quite a story to tell about a remarkable woman, Jane Haining, who is a distant relative.

Smith, born in Invercargill, lived in Dipton between the ages of five and 10 before moving north.

Interestingly, while in Dipton she remembers an interim Presbyterian minister, the Rev George A F Knight, who she later wrote about in her book about Jane Haining, From Matron to Martyr.

"He was director of the Scottish Mission in Budapest when Jane was matron for the girls' home," Ms Smith says.

Jane was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, after refusing to go back to safety in Scotland because the Jewish girls she cared for needed her more than ever before. She died in Auschwitz, a martyr for the children.

"I discovered my distant relative, when my mother gave me a booklet before she died in 2005," she says.

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"I read it and knew I had to tell Jane's story."

This led to travels to Scotland and Budapest to research her life.

Until now the story of Jane Haining has not been well- known but after translation a Hungarian launch is planned for the International Budapest Book Fair.

Fast facts:

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The Southland Times