I GREW up in the Govanhill/Queen’s Park area of Glasgow in the 1980s and 1990s. It is an area of some historical interest from a number of perspectives.

Immediately to the south was the site of the Battle of Langside in 1567, which is commemorated by the fine memorial between Battlefield and Shawlands.

People of note have been reared there and lived there. I mention but a few: RD Laing, the great Scottish psychiatrist; Mark McManus, who was such a familiar face in the area before he passed in 1994; and modern-era MPs such as Pat McFadden and Jim Fitzpatrick.

A couple of years back I recall reading an online article which discussed a Scottish woman who died at Auschwitz. Her name was Jane Haining. To my amazement I learned that she had a connection to my native district – she had lived in the area and had worshipped in a church nearby.

Jane Haining had become the matron at a boarding school for girls of many faiths in the 1930s, in Budapest, Hungary. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War she had been instructed to return to Scotland by her employers, the Church of Scotland. She refused, writing: “If these children needed me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me now in these days of darkness?”

She is reported to have openly wept as she sewed on yellow stars to the clothing of children marking them as Jewish.

She was arrested by the Gestapo on spurious charges of espionage and taken to Auschwitz, where she died in 1944. The Nazis claimed she died due to “cachexia following intestinal catarrh”, which will never be known for sure. The Nazis also claimed the German Communist leader Ernst Thalmann was killed during an allied bomb attack, later for it be known he had been shot by firing squad.

I felt incredibly moved at Jane Haining’s story. Not least that she had been connected to my neighbourhood and her story was almost unknown.

There is a memorial at the church she attended in the form of a stained glass window, but no public memorial.

One of the greatest heroes of the Second World War who never picked up a weapon, she gave her life to others and ultimately laid down that life. She endangered herself by refusing to abandon her Jewish children, keeping her decency and humanity. May she rest in peace.

It would be a great thing if the city of Glasgow, amongst others, could have a memorial or memorials to her or maybe name a street after her. There are, after all, persons quite unworthy of having streets named after them in Scotland, such as the Butcher Cumberland commemorated in the Gorbals.
Bryan O’Hanlon

PAULINE Keightley rightly castigates people for believing the “lies and propaganda of establishment Britain’s national media by burying empty heads in tabloid gossip” (Letters, January 29) but she may start by looking in the mirror.

Her unsubstantiated assertion that “while wealthy pensioners build themselves expensive homes and enjoy ten holidays per year, many young people are neck high in debt with few prospects of ever owning their own home,” is worthy of the best of the tabloid journalism.

Although, overall, pensioners have enjoyed what some call a “golden era” between 1977 and 2016, when it comes to the living standards of retirees – as in other areas, such as health, death rates and income inequality – class matters.

Data from the Office for National Statistics in 2017 show that inequality between rich and poor pensioners has actually widened significantly since 1977.

Sweeping generalisations about the 65-plus demographic that fuel intergenerational disunity does nothing to build support for an independent Scotland.
John Bratton
Co-convener, Pensioners for Independence

PERHAPS readers should be encouraged to report to this newspaper businesses that charge extra for deliveries to parts of Scotland so that a list may be available of companies to be avoided, or at least treated with caution.
James Stevenson