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did they search Janzen's house?
1940, suspicion against Germans was at an all-time high. Germany's
mighty armies had conquered most of Europe. Nightly, German planes
bombed London, the British capital. Meanwhile, in Canada, the leaders
of the pacifist churches worked to ensure that their young men would
not have to go to war. Considering the desperate situation in Europe,
the pacifist position was very unpopular.
Ontario, the Conference of Historic Peace Churches met regularly
with government officials. The leader of the Mennonite church in
Leamington, Rev. N.N. Driedger, was on a committee that required
him to visit Ottawa frequently to negotiate for the peace churches.
He wrote many letters to committee members, government officials,
and Mennonites across Canada.
post office in Leamington became suspicious when he began to receive
so much mail. Who was writing him, they wondered? Was he a German
Driedger was engaged in legal church activities, he decided to reroute
his mail to Jacob Janzen's house for a while. Someone – no one knows
who – called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the RCMP sent
two officers to search Janzen's home.
had nothing to hide, but the visit shocked him nevertheless. The
officers searched the house for anything that might show that Janzen
wasn't completely loyal to Canada. Maybe they'd find some weapons,
or a German flag, or a letter proving Janzen was spying for Germany.
They searched through drawers and cupboards, closets and bookshelves,
and found nothing. The one officer who could read German quickly
saw that Janzen's books were almost entirely religious.
the end of the visit, the men interviewed Janzen. Since they knew
that he had suffered greatly in the Soviet Union under the communists,
they asked him whether he wanted Germany to defeat the communists.
Janzen was not fooled by this trick question. He said that because
he was a Mennonite, he believed that war was wrong no matter who
was fighting. He did not support either side.
officers were satisfied with Janzen's response. Janzen's possessions
and his answers to their questions convinced the RCMP that he was
sincere in his religious beliefs. They realized he was not a threat
to Canada and never had been.
to Rev. Jacob Janzen tell his story.
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