of Alberta

Henry Goerzen’s collection on conscientious objectors

Title and Physical Description

Henry Goerzen’s collection on conscientious objectors. — [ca. 1939]-2005. — 16 cm of textual records. — ca. 300 photographs

Administrative/Biographical History

Henry D. Goerzen was born in Didsbury, Alberta. With his family, he maintains a grain farm in the Didsbury area. He is a lifelong member of Bergthal Mennonite Church and is active in Mennonite denominational activities. He is an historian and collector of historical materials. For over twenty-five years he was the Archivist of the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta (now Mennonite Church Alberta). In the 1990s he participated in a project to interview and collect the reminiscences of Mennonite men who had been conscientious objectors (C.O.’s) during the Second World War. Many of the stories were published in: Alternative service for peace in Canada during World War II, 1941-1946 / edited by A.J. Klassen. – Abbotsford, B.C. : Mennonite Central Committee (B.C.) Seniors for Peace, 1998.

Scope & Content

The collection consists of of several overlapping files of research notes, interviews and photographs of conscientous objectors, lists of Conscientious Objectors in various camps, records of reunions and conferences, essays by or about Cosncientious Objectors, and photographs.

Source of Supplied Title

Title based on the name of the collector and the contents of the collection

Source of Acquisition

Gift by Henry D. Goerzen, 2011

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access

Finding Aids

See File Inventory


Accession 2002-031 (filed with 2011.018), 2011.018
Last updated August 2014 – Jim Bowman

File Inventory

1   File containing Interviews and Research Notes.  This file includes background research material and also copies of interview reports written later.  It provides some more detailed information about individual Conscientious Objectors than the later written reports.  The file includes a numbered list.  The numbers, however, are incomplete and based on numbers assigned in the later written reports.  This file includes the following:
-Introduction by Henry Goerzen entitled “Canada and its involvement in W. W. II.  Copies are also included in other files.
#5 Jake Neufeld
#7 Aron Friesen
#9 George Schmidt
#10 Isaac Wittenberg
#11 Dave (John) Heidebrecht
#13 Frank Bergen
#14 Cornie Friesen
#16 Elmer Burkholder (told by Willard Burkholder)
#19 John Gossen
#21 Jacob Wiens
#22 John Siemens and “The Last of the Mennonite Coal Mines Durmheller Area”
#23 Dave Ratzlaff
#24 Claude Klassen
#25 Daniel Loewen
#26 Carl Henry Brown
#27 George Brown
#28 Edward Regehr
#29 Peter Klassen
#30 Jacob J. Doerksen
#31 Harry Stauffer “World War Years II Sept 1, 1939-May 1945”
#32 John Esau
#33 Norman Levi Weber
#34 Peter Heidebrecht
#35 Peter Unger
#36 Joseph Wayne Kauffman
#38 Ernest Neufeld
#39 Nina Neufeld
#40 C. J. Ramer
#41 Agatha Hiebert

2. File containing Interview Reports, written originally in coil bound scribblers.  A list is provided but not all items are included.
#1A “Canada and W. W. II,” listed but not included in this file.  It was apparently the same document as the first item in the previous file.
#1 Gordon Dyck
#2 John and Beth Siemens (missing)
#3 Alfred Toews (missing)
#4 Peter Wiens
#5 Jake Neufeld
#6 Dave Schmidt
#7 Aaron Friesen
#8 Reuben Ratzlaff
#9 George Schmidt
#10 Isaac Wittenberg
#11 David John Heidebrecht
#12 David Goerzen
#13 Frank Baergen
#14 Cornie Thiessen
#15 Jake Willms
#16 Elmer Burkholder
#17 Dietrich Dyck
#18 John F. Dyck


Isaak “Ike” Neufeld (poem and story by Henry Goerzen), John Gossen, John Wiebe, Jacob “Jake” Wiens, John Siemens, Dave Ratzlaff, Claude Klassen, Daniel Loewen, Carl Henry Brown, George Brown, Edward “Ed” Regehr, Peter Klassen, Jacob J. Doerksen, Ernest Neufeld, Mina Neufeld. Includes lists of conscientious objectors. Includes photos of Pete Wiens, Dave Schmidt, Jake Neufeld, Ed Regehr, Jake Friesen, one unidentified

2  Interview and research notes of C.O.s.

3  C.O.  interviews and reports with supporting photos, graphs and documents.

4  C.O. interview  reports. Interviews with conscientious objectors. – 1988-1995. – Essays and summaries of interviews with persons listed in file 1-1, plus: Jake Reimer, Harry E. Stauffer, John Esau, Norman Levi Weber, Peter Heidebrecht, Peter Unger, Joseph Wayne Kaufman, C.J. and Ethel Ramer, and Agatha “Aggie” Hiebert.

5   List of men in camps. – 1942-1943.

6  Correspondence, Jake Kreuger to C.O. Book Project Committee. – 1994.

7  Henry Goerzen’s notes. – 1990-1995. – Information from C.O.’s.

8  Reunions of C.O.’s. – 1990-1991. – Includes identified group portrait of Camp Geikie Reunion, 1991. For photos of 1995 Conscientious Objector Celebration, Campbell River, BC, 1995, see accession 2002.020 in Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta fonds.

9  Conference ” Remembering and Celebrating Alternative Service in World War II”. – 1995.

10   Material collected by Daniel Loewen. – 1940-1946. – Correspondence with Department of War Services.

11   Material from Harry Stauffer. – 1942-1946. – Correspondence with National Selective Service.

12   Material from Harold Lauber – National War Services. – 1942-1946.
13   Reminiscences. – 1988-1990. – Essays by Jacob J. Hiebert, Peter Heidebrecht.

14    Essays. – [ca. 1993-ca. 1998]. – By Henry D. Goerzen, Menno Klassen, Andrew Friesen.

15   Henry Goerzen’s article “Women and Peace”. – [ca. 1995].

16   Membership in Mennonite churches and membership in the military / Helmut Harder. – 1996.

17  Project Ploughshares. – 1982-1985.

18  Project Habbakuk. – 1943-2005.

19  Sam Martin – Remember conscientious objectors [handbill]. – 1987.

20 Photos: negatives. – [ca. 1939-ca. 1945].C.O. camp photos . –

21  [Copied ca. 1995 (originally created ca. 1939-ca. 1945)].

22  The Beacon. – 1943. – Newsletter published in work camps in B.C.

23  News clippings. – 1970-2004.

24  “Western Art”  by Peter Goetz

25  Mennonite Co  Publications.  1917-1949

26 Paul H. Heidebrecht copies of several 1943 issues of The Beacon. (Accession 2003.005)

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