SHE is the Scottish heroine whose selfless dedication to the Jewish children of Hungary led to her death in Auschwitz.

Now a team from the Church of Scotland is hoping to trace the girls protected by Scots missionary Jane Haining after the discovery of a treasure trove of lost photographs and documents provided a fresh insight into her life.

Haining, who died as prisoner 79467 in the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, is the only Scot to be officially honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel for giving her life to help protect Jews during the Holocaust.

A farmer's daughter from Dunscore, Dumfries and Galloway, she travelled to Hungary in 1932 to work in the Jewish Mission School run by the Church of Scotland, and died in 1944 after refusing to leave the girls she had taken under her protection.

Last week, more than 70 years after her death, a box containing her handwritten will and a collection of photos was discovered in Edinburgh, shining fresh light on her time in Hungary and her last wishes.

These photos have now been taken to Hungary by the Church of Scotland group, who hope to show them to the surviving women who once knew the missionary. Haining is widely revered throughout Hungary.

Rev Ian Alexander, Secretary of the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland, said: “This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest and a group of over 20 people from the Church of Scotland are spending the weekend in the Hungarian capital to celebrate this remarkable milestone.

“It represents 175 years of close cooperation and collaboration with the Reformed Church in Hungary, developments from the mission to Jewish people to interfaith engagement and co-operation, and a friendship which embodies the Church of Scotland’s internationalist spirit which is alive and well across the world."

He added: “Jane Haining was a central part of that ethos in the 1930s and 1940s and did not discriminate between Christian and Jewish Hungarian children.

“To her, they were simply children in need of human love which would show them God’s love for every single one of them, that they would know each one mattered deeply, equally, and individually.

“We are very hopeful that we will have the chance to meet some of Miss Haining’s former pupils, who are, in part, still alive today thanks to her bravery and dedication.

“It would be wonderful to hear stories of their time at the Scottish Mission and we have brought out with us some of the new photographs we have found in our archive. Perhaps someone might see their younger selves in them.”

Haining is sometimes referred to as the 'Scottish Schindler' because of the similarities between her story and that of German Industrialist Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews.

The missionary ignored orders to return to Scotland when war broke out, and insisted on staying to care for the vulnerable youngsters, many of whom were orphans.

She managed to keep dozens of girls safe for four years, despite living under surveillance. But she was finally betrayed by the son of a domestic worker at the school and arrested by the Gestapo.

The charges levelled at the Scot included working with Jews, listening to the BBC, and weeping when seeing her girls being forced to wear Nazi-issued yellow star identification badges to school.

Referred to as a "Christian martyr", Haining was sent to Auschwitz, and died at the age of 47.

The circumstances of her passing remain unclear, but her death certificate states she died of "cachexia following intestinal catarrh".

In 2010, she was awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government. The new archive material will soon be handed over to the National Library of Scotland.

Rev Aaron Stevens, minister of St Columba’s Church in Budapest, said: “The renewed attention to Jane Haining provides new occasion not only to remember her sacrifice, but to learn from her service.

“She paid the highest price for a truth that the Scottish Mission always proclaimed that God loves Jew and Gentile alike.

“She arrived in Budapest some 90 years after its founding, and was killed over 70 years ago, but her dedication to the humanity of all God's children is as relevant today as ever, whether we think of the founding of the mission 175 years ago, or the school's welcoming of Jewish girls in the early 20th century, or our ministry among refugees today.

“Jane's example motivates us in living out our mission.”