John S. Conway Collection

The John S. Conway Research Collection includes books, articles, offprints, manuscripts and miscellaneous papers relating to Twentieth Century Church History, particularly of Europe. These were presented to Regent College from 1995 onwards, following Professor Conway’s retirement from active teaching in the Department of History, University of British Columbia.

Professor Conway earlier published his notable study on The Nazi Persecution of the Churches 1933-1945, subsequently reprinted under Regent College auspices. Much of the research collection is therefore related to the experiences of the churches in Germany during the Nazi period.

In addition, there are substantial holdings dealing with the Holocaust and the policies adopted by the various branches of the Christian Church towards Judaism, as well as Christian-Jewish relations in this period. Notable are the 11 volumes of published documents from the Vatican archives, and a run of the leading German journal Die Eiche from 1913 to 1933, which sought to promote understanding and pacifism amongst the Christian churches.

The archived collected papers contain valuable items on the careers of several twentieth century Church leaders, such as: Pope Pius XII, or the noted German pacifist, Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze. In addition there is a complete run of the monthly Newsletter edited by Professor Conway for the Association of Contemporary Church Historians, 1995 onwards.

These items are catalogued and indexed with the same enumeration as the books, and are fully integrated into the Library’s computerized catalogue, and hence available for library use. The collection offers an opportunity for students and visitors to deepen their knowledge and understanding of events and personalities during this critical period of church history.

Brief biography on John Conway

John Conway was born in London, England, and took all his studies at St John's College Cambridge. He emigrated to Canada in 1955 and taught International Relations for two years at the University of Manitoba. In 1957 he joined the Department of History at UBC, and continued teaching Modern European History and International Relations until 1995.

In 1998 he was appointed the Smallman Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario. His principal scholarly work has been to research the role of the German Churches in the 1930s and 1940s, as a result of which he wrote his book The Nazi Persecution of the Churches 1933-1945, which was first published in Britain in 1968, and subsequently was translated into German, French and Spanish, and was reissued in 1997. His researches took him frequently to Germany, which he has visited almost every year, including several sabbatical periods at various German universities.

In 1970 he was a founding member of the Scholars' Conference on the German Church and the Holocaust, and has since written a large number of articles dealing with the role of the European churches and the Vatican during the Holocaust, as well as on the topic of Christian-Jewish relations during the twentieth century. He has paid three visits to Israel, and lectured at the Yad Vashem Memorial Foundation in Jerusalem in 1993.

From 1995 he has been the Director of the Association of Contemporary Church Historians, and editor of its monthly Newsletter which has a worldwide audience and is available on e-mail. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the journals Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte and the Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

John Conway has played an active part in several associations connected with international relations in Vancouver, including being Chairman of the Vancouver Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, and of the United Nations Association. For ten years he was the executive vice-chairman of the Tibetan Refugee Aid Society of Canada, and in this connection paid several visits to India. In 1977 he was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal for his services. He also served as a member of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster's Refugee Liaison Committee. On the UBC campus, he was long associated with the Student Christian Movement, and the World University Service, for which he acted for many years as the Faculty Advisor. He served for many years as the editor of the Newsletter of the Association of Contemporary Church Historians. He was also a faithful member of St James' Anglican Parish, Vancouver.

Dr. Conway, noted scholar and researcher in modern Church History, passed away on June 23, 2017. He was a dear friend to the Allison Library and to Regent College. He will be missed.

Description of article files

This unique sector of Dr. Conway's collection consists of approximately 400 files of research notes, letters, essays and manuscripts on various topics. There are numerous subjects with a focus on:

  • Jewish Holocaust (1939-1945)
  • Resistance to Nazism
  • German 20th C. Church History
  • German Church Struggle
  • 20th C. Christian Ecumenism
  • Jewish-Christian Relations

There are also extensive files on figures of major importance, including Martin Niemöller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Fredrich Siegmund-Schultze. Most of Siegmund-Schultze's ecumenical journal, Die Eiche, which was shut down by the Nazis in 1933, is included in hard copy. The library has classified this material according to the Library of Congress classification system, and has created for each item a MARC record on the library's automated catalogue.

Description of book collection

Dr. Conway has donated more than 400 monographs from his personal collection. These are mostly in English, with some German and French books. The main focus is:

  • International Relations
  • 20th C. European History
  • Nazi era in Germany

The Conway Collection books cannot be searched as a group but can be recognized by a call number ending in RRAR, e.g.:

Conway, John S. The Nazi Persecution of the Churches 1933-1945. [BR 856 .C657 1997 RRAR1]

LINKS: Selected Holocaust sites.

Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Site at the University of Minnesota includes links and bibliographies.

Drew University Center for Holocaust Study
Provides bibliographies and suggested links.

Facing History & Ourselves
This National Foundation site for high school students has connections with Harvard University.

Holocaust & Genocide Studies
University-based site with many links to international holocaust literature.

Holocaust History
Contains documentary evidence, reproduction of works and direct refutation of Holocaust denial essays.

Holocaust Info Online
This site is created by Yizkor and includes links to much factual data.

Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center
Reference site for teachers at all schooling levels including university.

Jewish Virtual Library
Site of the AICE, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

Kierkegaard and Nazism

Essay by Charles Bellinger "Toward a Kierkegaardian Understanding of Hitler, Stalin, and the Cold War."

Library of the Holocaust
Well-organized links to other sources and 360 degree virtual tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau .

Literature of the Holocaust
Centre for programs in Contemporary Writing (University of Pennsylvania).

NAAF Project
(Never Again, Always & Forever) - This is an online memorial with bibliographies.

Open Directory Project: Holocaust
General online subject directory

Women and the Holocaust
This site contains essays, poetry, bibliogrpahies, personal testimonies and more of women who lived in this time.

John Conway's e-mail address: