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Janzen, Heinrich H. (1901–1975)

Proper Title

Heinrich H. Janzen fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

64 cm textual material, 9 cassette tapes, 21 reel to reel tapes, 2 microfilm reels, 3 photographs, books, and essays

Biographical Sketch

H.H. Janzen, son of schoolteacher Heinrich Johann Janzen and Gertrude Rabsch, was born on October 1, 1901 in Muensterberg, South Russia where he attended public school. He went to high school at Ohrloff, although his father had been called into the Red Army. Janzen married Katherine Andres on August 30, 1923 and in 1925 they came to Canada, settling in Kitchener, Ontario. In 1932, Janzen became pastor of the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church. He was the founder and the first moderator of the Ontario Mennonite Brethren Conference, in which one of his primary agendas was missions. From 1942 to 1946 he also served as principal of the Russian Bible Institute in Toronto, Ontario. In 1946, the Janzens came from Kitchener to Winnipeg where Janzen assumed the presidency of the Mennonite Brethren Bible College.

To help meet the great spiritual need among the refugees in Germany, the Mennonite Brethren Bible College granted Janzen a six-month leave of absence in 1947. He spent four of those months ministering to refugees. In 1950 he returned to Europe, upon the request of the Board of Missions, to investigate possibilities for mission work. In 1952 and 1955 he again served various Mennonite churches in Germany, Switzerland, and France. From 1947–1949 and from 1954 to 1957 he served as moderator of the Mennonite Brethren Conference in addition to his other responsibilities. He was moderator of the General Conference from 1954–1957.

In 1956 Janzen resigned from the presidency of MBBC and with his wife went to Europe under the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions to minister in Bible conferences, evangelistic meetings, teaching at the European Mennonite Bible School at Bienenberg, Switzerland, writing, and regular radio messages. In 1961 the Janzens returned to Canada and from 1962–1964 Janzen was the pastor of the Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church.

In 1964 and 1965 they returned to Europe where Janzen taught at the seminary at St. Chrischona, Switzerland. Subsequently the Board of Missions designated him as minister-at-large; he served wherever there were open doors in Europe. Though working with the Board of Missions, the Janzen’s entire support came from Europe. In 1972 they returned to Canada to retire in Kitchener, Ontario. They had served in Europe a total of eleven years and eight months. Janzen, however, continued to serve in Bible conferences in Canada as possible.

Janzen died on March 4, 1975 in Kitchener, Ontario.

Custodial History

The Heinrich H. Janzen fonds came to Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies at different times. The first twelve files appear to have come before 1978. In March, 1978, Katherine Janzen (wife) donated her husband’s personal correspondence files, now in series III in this fonds. Some of the reel to reel tapes and cassettes were given back to Katherine Janzen by Wilfred Grenzberg (son-in-law) in 1987. They must come to CMBS as a later acquisition.

Scope and Content

The Heinrich H. Janzen fonds consists of autobiographical material, sermons written by Janzen, typed in the German language, correspondence regarding his mission work in Europe, and with conference leaders and committees. Janzen’s books, available in the J.A. Toews library, are:

1. Die heutige Weltlage in biblischer Sicht. – 1957.
2. Die Mennonitische Bruedergemeinde. – 1957.
3. Der Roemerbrief. – 1975.
4. Und ich sah – Eine Auslegung der Offenbarung. – 1961.
5. Die Sendschreiben aus dem Buch der Offenbarung. – 1961.
6. Wort des Lebens. – 1961.
7. Jesu Rede ueber die Letzte Zeit. – 1958.
8. Glaube und Heiligung. – 1951.
9. A Brief Outline Study of the Seven Churches. – 1949.
10. Meine Lebensgeschichte. Edited by Erich Ratzlaff, editor of Mennonitische Rundschau.

Janzen’s papers in the study papers and essays collection (20-M-1) are:

1. “Carl F.H. Henry’s ‘A Christian Philosophy of Social Action.’ ” – 1967.
2. “Church Evangelism in the Community.” – 1967.

Sixteen of Janzen’s books are included in this fonds. 21 reel to reel tapes and 9 cassettes of sermons by Janzen are located in the CMBS tape collection.

Sub Fonds

  • Location: Volumes 990-992.
  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • Acquisition record is March, 1978.
  • Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • Finding aid for photographs: NP48–1.
  • Finding aid for study papers and essays: 20-M-1.
  • Finding aid for microfilm reel: no. 36-37.
  • Finding aid for cassettes: NA-01.
  • Finding aid for reel to reel tapes: NA-19.

Series Descriptions

I. Heinrich H. Janzen autobiographical series.
12 cm textual material.

This series includes tributes, special events honouring Janzen, and some correspondence.

  • Title based on contents of series.
  • Finding aid: Heinrich H. Janzen list 1–4.

II. Heinrich H. Janzen sermons and lecture notes.
12 cm textual records and 2 microfilm reels.

The textual records include some of Janzen’s sermons, radio messages and books written by Janzen. The microfilm reels consist of 50 loose leaf note books containing sermon and lecture outlines. Subject indexes are included on the microfilm for approximately 40% of the notebooks.

  • Title based on contents of series.
  • Finding aid: Heinrich H. Janzen list 5–12; microfilm reel no. 36 & no. 37; and copies of 17 of Janzen's books.

III. Heinrich H. Janzen correspondence.
40 cm textual material.

This series includes personal and official correspondence with many individuals in North America, South America, and Europe. Some of these individuals are Corny Balzer, Benjamin B. Janz, Benjamin Unruh, Frank C. Thiessen, Abraham H. Unruh, and Cornelius F. Klassen. This series reflects Janzen’s love for European missions and his years as conference moderator. Files with subject headings were left but many of these files had a random alphabetical arrangement originally and were rearranged chronologically in 1996.

  • Title based on contents of series.
  • Finding aid: Heinrich H. Janzen list 13–54.

IV. Heinrich H. Janzen reel to reel and cassette tape collection.
21 reel to reel tapes consisting of family events, music, and Janzen’s sermons.

9 cassette tapes (1947 and 1973) are of Janzen’s sermons mostly in the German language.

  • Title based on contents of series.
  • Finding aid for cassettes: NA-01–010, NA-01–003, NA-01–009, NA-01–007, NA-01–004, NA-01–141, NA-01,010, NA-01–007, NA-01–001.
  • Finding aid for reel to reel tapes: NA-19–68 to 88.

File List

Series I: Autobiographical.

  1. “The Family Remembers” written by family members for H.H. Janzen evening held 28 March 1988.“H.H. Janzen as a Conference man” by Ed Boldt. – 1988.
  2. Various articles not by H.H. Janzen.
  3. Correspondence between Janzen and Erich Ratzlaff and others. – 1962–1975.
  4. Biographical material, tributes, correspondence about Janzen. – 1975–1977.

Series II: Sermons.

  1. Sermons from the Mennonitische Rundschau by H.H. Janzen.
  2. Messages for Radio Luxemburg, “Stimme des Evangeliums.”
  3. Messages for Quelle des Lebens. – 1965.
  4. Messages for Quelle des Lebens. – 1969–1971.
  5. Bible expositions by H.H. Janzen. – 1961, 1973, undated.
  6. “Der Gottgefaellige Wandel eines Christen.” For Bible Conference. – December 1972.
  7. “Der Roemerbrief.” – Undated.
  8. Sermons by H.H. Janzen. – Undated.

Books by H.H. Janzen included in this series:

  • “Wie Er Uns Erwaehlt Hat”
  • “Erfuelltes Leben”
  • “Glaube und Heiligung”
  • “Worte des Lebens” – #1
  • “Worte des Lebens”  – #2
  • “Worte des Lebens”  – #3
  • “Der ewige Sohn Gottes”
  • “Warum”
  • “Die Mennonitische Brudergemeinde” (2)
  • “Vier ausgewahlte Worte”
  • “Bibel – Gottes Wort?”
  • “Die heutige Weltlage in biblischer Sicht”
  • Bible Conference invitation
  • “Glaube und Heiligung”
  • “Von der Herrschaft des Geistes”
  • “Fallen und Wiederaufstehen”
  • “A Brief Outline Study of the Seven Churches” (2 copies)

Series III: Correspondence.

  1. Trip to Europe. – 1950–1951.
  2. Gospel Light Hour correspondence to and from Janz. Some photocopied. – 1964–1975.
  3. Basel Academy reports, brochures, and correspondence. – 1966–1975.
  4. Correspondence with seminary at St. Crischona, Switzerland. – 1964–1975.
  5. Correspondence with the American European Bethel Mission, Los Angeles, California. – 1954, 1963.
  6. European correspondence. – 1966.
  7. Bible Schools. Contains “Die Entstehung der Hoeherin Bibelschule und der Stellung der Manitoba Konferenz dazu” by A.H. Unruh. – 1961–1967.
  8. The Church around the world. Miscellaneous articles not written by Janzen.
  9. Correspondence with Janzen regarding Seelsorge. – 1966–1974.
  10. Correspondence. – 1935, 1956.
  11. Correspondence. – 1960, 1961.
  12. Correspondence. – 1962 January to June.
  13. Correspondence. – 1962 July to December.
  14. Correspondence. – 1963 January to June.
  15. Correspondence. – 1963 July to December.
  16. Correspondence. – 1964.
  17. Correspondence. – 1965.
  18. Correspondence. – 1966.
  19. Correspondence. – 1967 January to June.
  20. Correspondence. – 1967 July to December.
  21. Correspondence. – 1968.
  22. Correspondence. – 1970–1971.
  23. Correspondence. – 1972 January to June.
  24. Correspondence. – 1972 July to December.
  25. Correspondence. – 1973 January to June.
  26. Correspondence. – 1973 July to December.
  27. Correspondence. – 1974 January to June.
  28. Correspondence. – 1974 July to December.
  29. Correspondence. – 1975.
  30. Correspondence with Corny Balzer. – 1962–1975.
  31. Quelle des Lebens prayer lists, reports, correspondence. 1961–1975.
  32. Mennonite Brethren Bible College correspondence. – 1961–1970.
  33. Conference correspondence. – 1962, 1963, 1966.
  34. Correspondence with Mennonite Central Committee. – 1962–1964.
  35. Correspondence with Frank C. Thiessen regarding Africa Mission Society. – 1941–1943.
  36. Correspondence with Cornelius H. Unruh, missionary to India. – 1933–1938.
  37. Correspondence with B.B. Janz. – 1948–1956, 1962.
  38. Correspondence with C.F. Klassen. – 1944–1955.
  39. Correspondence with A.H. Unruh.Unruh’s “Lebensgeschichte,” a biographical article about A.H. Unruh by H.H. Janzen.Sermon preached at Mrs. A.H. Unruh’s funeral.
    “Rueckblick und Ausschau ueber die Entwickelung der MB Gemeinde von 1865” by Unruh?
    “Zeichen wirtschaftlichen ungiestlichen Lebens in der junger Kubaner ansiedlung” by Unruh? – 1948–1956.
  40. Letter from Janzen to H.R. Wiens. – February 1966.
  41. Correspondence with B.H. Unruh. – 1950–1953.
  42. Information regarding Bienenberg Bible School. – 1962–1975.

Series IV: Heinrich H. Janzen reel to reel collection.

  • NA-19–68 Christmas in Basel, Switzerland. Heinrich Janzen, Katherina Janzen, and Art Janzen addressing the family in Canada. – 1960.
  • NA-19–69 Family reunion. – 1967.
  • NA-19–70 Art and Darlene Janzen’s wedding. – 1969.
  • NA-19–71 Fiftieth wedding anniversary. – 1973.
  • NA-19–72 Fiftieth wedding anniversary. – 1973.
  • NA-19–73 H.H. Janzen’s General Conference sermon. – 1963.
  • NA-19–74 H.H. Janzen’s General Conference sermon. – 1963.
  • NA-19–75 St. Crischona Men’s Choir. – 1965–1966.
  • NA-19–76 Music by Mennonite Brethren Bible College. – 1946–1947.
  • NA-19–77 Music by Mennonite Brethren Bible College. – 1946–1947.
  • NA-19–78 Sermons. – 1971.
  • NA-19–79 Sermons preached in Europe. – 1969–1971.
  • NA-19–80 Sermon “Gottes Offenbarung Heute.” Switzerland. – 1971.
  • NA-19–81 New Year’s sermon at Clearbrook. – 1963.
  • NA-19–82 New Year’s sermon at Clearbrook. – 1963.
  • NA-19–83 “Die Entrueckung.” Includes music by Abe and Irene Neufeld and Corny and Elfrieda Balzer. – Undated.
  • NA-19–84 “Die Entrueckung.” – Undated.
  • NA-19–85 English sermon on John 14:1–6 given at son Walter Janzen’s church in Minot, North Dakota. – 1967.
  • NA-19–86 Conference at Pentecost. – 1968.
  • NA-19–87 Conference at Zurich. – 1971.
  • NA-19–88 Radio messages. Walter Janzen’s name is on the box. Could be radio messages by him? – Undated.
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