By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Europe Bureau Chief reporting from Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (Worthy News)-- Hungary commemorated Wednesday, May 5, Scottish missionary Jane Haining, who was killed by Nazis during World War Two because she refused to abandon 400 mainly Jewish orphans under her care.
Haining was deported from the Scottish Mission School in Budapest and eventually killed in concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. She was 47. "If these children needed me in the sunshine, how much they will need me now, when it is dark," Israeli Ambassador Aliza Bin-Noun reportedly quoted her as saying at the time.
The diplomat was one of several foreign representatives at Wednesday's gathering at a Scottish church in the Hungarian capital honoring the farmer's daughter from the Scottish village of Dunscore. Bin-Noun said it was crucial "to keep the memories alive at a time when anti-Semitism is re-awakening."
There has been international concern about the rise of extremist groups in Hungary where the far right Movement for a Better Hungary, Jobbik, became the third largest political party in last month's parliamentary elections.
Jobbik leaders have been linked to perceived anti-Semitic statements and verbal attacks against the country's gypsy, or Roma, community. The party was involved in the recently banned Hungarian Guard, or Magyar Gárda, whose members wear uniforms and carry flags resembling Hungary's pro-Nazi regime of World War II when about 600.000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust.
British Ambassador Greg Dorey said however that although the past cannot be changed, "we can influence the future by standing against intolerance," Hungarian News Agency MTI reported.
The commemoration was also attended by government officials, representatives of the Jewish community and some of Haining's former pupils. This was not the first time she has been honored.
In 1997, Haining received the title Righteous Among the Nations, Israel's highest award for non-Jewish people who helped Jews to survive the Holocaust. This year she was among those to receive the posthumous honor 'Hero of the Holocaust' from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.