Association of Conscientious Objectors

Classification scheme: 

Title: Association of Conscientious Objectors fonds

Date(s) of creation: 1953, 1981-1997

Physical description: 7 cm of textual material

Administrative history: The Association of Conscientious Objectors was formed in 1986 and ended in 1996. It was a more formal extension of a series of conscientious objector reunions in Ontario that began in 1978, with the last held in 1991. These were initially held by men who had served in Alternative Service work camps during World War II under the auspices of the Canadian government. The 1991 event was a CO rally intended to present a positive witness to younger Mennonites who had no personal memory of conscription for war service.

Reunions of men who had served in the work camps began soon after the war under the auspices of the Conference of Historic Peace Churches (see XV-11.1.3/6). The first was in 1948, then 1950 and 1953. The first of the later series of reunions was held August 6, 1978 at Green Acres Park in Waterloo; it was attended by 400 persons and featured a presentation by Brethren in Christ Bishop E. J. Swalm. The second reunion, on June 27, 1982, was held at the St. Jacobs Community Centre and attracted over 300 persons. The third reunion was held September 6, 1986 at the Elmira Rod & Gun Club, attracted 200 persons. It was at this event the Association of Conscientious Objectors was established.

The fourth reunion, and the first under the direction of the Association, was held September 11, 1988 at the Elmira Mennonite Church, with over 300 in attendance. About 30 young people were attracted to the event. In 1990 the group sponsored an elective seminar and had a lunch hour reunion at the MCC Ontario annual meeting on November 17, 1990 at Leamington, Ontario. The Association also cooperated with MCC Ontario, Nan Cressman, and the local Rogers Cable station in producing a video on the conscientious objector experience. This 30-minute video, "A Different Path" was shown on June 9, 1991 at the final event planned by the gouup at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener.

Custodial history: The fonds was donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Rufus Jutzi, chair of the organization, in the late 1990s.

Scope and content: The fonds consists primarily of committee minutes and correspondence.

Note: Original description prepared by Sam Steiner, 19 May 2004

File list:

  1. Minutes, correspondence, 1981-1997 (also included is program of 1953 reunion)
  2. Correspondence with Leonard Schlichting and Conrad Stoesz with copies of various lists of men who served in Alternative Service Work Camps. The correspondence in from 1993 & 1997; the lists are originals and copies from the 1940s on.
  3. Registration forms from the 1982 reunion, including names, addresses and camp where served

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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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