John Conway


John Conway (1929-2017) 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 was 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 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 wrote 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 paid three visits to Israel, and lectured at the Yad Vashem Memorial Foundation in Jerusalem in 1993.

In 1995 he became 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 was also a member of the editorial boards of the journals Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte and the Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

John Conway 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.


  • Modern European History
  • International Relations


J.S. Conway. Bourgeois German pacifism during the First World War leaves. : Papers of the Canadian Historical Association, 1978. \

J.S. Conway. Visit to the Tibetan settlements in northern India, 1977. Vancouver: Institute of Environmental Studies, Douglas College, 1977.

J.S. Conway. The Nazi persecution of the Churches 1933-45. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968.