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BBC News – David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp

David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp

Prime Minister David Cameron lit a candle at a memorial for Holocaust victims as he visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

In a message in the book of remembrance, he said the concentration camp was “this place where the darkest chapter of human history happened”.

More than a million people died at the camp, in what was Nazi-occupied Poland, during World War Two.

Mr Cameron said the world must “never forget” what had taken place there.

He made the visit on the way back from Turkey, where he held talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

‘Life-changing’

During a 90-minute tour with the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Mr Cameron was shown train tracks that brought people to the camp and gas chambers where many of them were murdered.

Speaking later, the prime minister said his visit to the camp had filled him with “an overwhelming sense of grief for all those who were killed simply because of their faith, their beliefs or their ethnicity”.

via BBC News – David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

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December 10, 2014 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

David Cameron visits Auschwitz / Birkenau

David Cameron at Birkenau

David Cameron visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau today 10th December 2014

December 10, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Scot who died in Auschwitz

Jane Haining was a quiet farmer’s daughter from the south of Scotland who ended her life as a slave labourer in the most notorious extermination camp the world has ever known.

Krakow Tours - Jane Haining

She is the only Scot to be officially honoured for giving her life for Jews in the Holocaust.

But her life began a long way from the barbed wire fences of Auschwitz – among the rolling hills of rural Dumfriesshire.

Jane Haining was born in Dunscore in 1897. Her mother died when she was just five years old and she took on much of the care of her younger sisters.

After leaving Dumfries Academy, where she was an excellent student who was good at languages, Jane took a secretarial job at the huge JP Coats weaving factory in Paisley.

While there she attended church at Queen’s Park West in the Crosshill area of Glasgow.

It now has stained glass windows in memory of a woman who was driven by a strong Christian faith.

In 1932 she saw an advert for a job as matron to the Scottish Mission to the Jews in Budapest.

Rev Stevens describes Jane’s role as the mother for those who were not living at home any more.

For her pupils Jane Haining embodied the values of fairness, tolerance and equality that drove the whole Scottish mission.

Less than a year after Jane arrived in Budapest, Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. He was the most powerful force in the turning against Jews which occurred across Europe in the 1930s.

Hungary’s Nationalist government began to concede anti-Semitic laws in a bid to undermine its more demanding fascist sympathisers before then allying itself with Germany.

The authorities started to detain Jews who had lived in Budapest for decades without citizenship.

As more and more territories fell to the Nazis, Hungary’s alliance with Germany kept invasion at bay.

The government continued to protect the lives of its Hungarian Jews. But they did lose jobs, social position, civil rights and respect.

However, the Church of Scotland was increasingly alarmed for the safety of its missionaries and sent repeated letters urging Jane Haining to come home.

She refused and wrote: “If these children needed me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in these days of darkness?”

“She could not grasp the evil in which she was functioning,” says Annette Lantos, former pupil.

“It was not part of her ability to understand what she was confronted with. She lived in a different world. A world that was civilised and reasonable and rational, where people did not kill each other for no reason.”

Then the outlook suddenly darkened further, when Hitler turned his attention to Hungary and its Jews.

On a Sunday afternoon in March 1944 Nazi troops marched into Budapest.

Jane Haining is said to have wept as she sewed on the yellow stars that branded her children as Jews.

Her open sympathy put Jane in grave danger.

It only took one incident to light the touch paper.

Within weeks of the invasion Jane scolded the cook’s son-in-law for eating food intended for the girls. He informed on her. The next morning a Gestapo police car arrived at the school.

She was arrested on suspicion of “espionage on behalf of England”.

She was originally taken to the local prison but soon she was taken to Poland, to Auschwitz, as the industrial slaughter of Jews was reaching its zenith.

About 12,000 Hungarian Jews every day were being packed off to Auschwitz. Most went straight to the gas chambers.

In all, more than a million human beings were killed at Auschwitz.

Jane Haining was a political prisoner so she was taken to the labour camps where inmates were screamed at, beaten and chased with dogs.

She survived just two months. She was just 47.

According to her death certificate, she died of “cachexia following intestinal catarrh”.

Whether Jane died of starvation, illness or disease and died in hospital or whether she was actually gassed like many women who became too ill to work cannot be known for sure.

It took a long-time before Jane Haining’s death was recognised.

In 1997 after an initiative from Queen’s Park church and a 10-year investigation by an Israeli board, Jane was named as Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem’s sacred Yad Vashem.

In 2010 she was awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the British government.

Her death was anonymous and without show but her quiet sacrifice for those Jewish children has now been recognised throughout the world.

December 1, 2014 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

   

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