Freemasonry under the Nazi regime
Under Nazi Germany, Freemasonry was heavily suppressed and Freemasons were persecuted. Hitler and his administration viewed Freemasonry as part of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. By 1934, Freemasons were barred from employment in the party and military.
Quick history lesson
In 1933, an ominous act was passed through the Reichstag, the German Government, called “The Enabling Act”. This act effectively gave dictatorial powers to Adolf Hitler, who was then the Chancellor of Germany. Hitler immediately set about consolidating his power.
With the rise of Nazi Germany and a new, well funded war-machine, Hitler embarked on a conquest of Europe, starting with neighboring Poland, in Sept 1, 1939, using false flag attacks as a pretext for war. In response the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany only days later on Sept 3, 1939.
Thus began World War 2, a long and bloody conflict which would end with the Allied invasion of Nazi Germany and the surrender of Japan after the first nuclear weapons were deployed (by US President Truman, a Freemason).
The suppression of Freemasonry under the Nazi Regime
The suppression of Freemasons by the Nazis began even before the outbreak of WW2, and continued throughout the war. Only after the war ended would Freemasonry begin to flourish again in Germany and previously Nazi occupied territories.
The Nazi leadership blamed a Jewish-Freemasonry conspiracy for Germany’s loss in WW1 and also for instigating WW2. They viewed Jews and Freemasons as a threat to political power.
Initial Nazi Suppression of Freemasons
When the Nazis took control of Germany, they laid their policies bare to the world. Their stance on Freemasonry was equally as clear; it had no place in Nazi Germany and Freemasonry was to be suppressed.
At first, all Masonic Lodges in Germany that did not conform to Nazi Party ideals were dismantled. Only those few Lodges that did conform were allowed to exist, albeit within restrictive limits. Even this didn’t last too long.
Nazi Party restricts Freemasons from employment
In 1934, just a year after the “Enabling Act”, the Nazi Court System ruled that anyone who had not already left Freemasonry by the previous year, 1933, could no longer join the Nazi Party or even be employed in public service.
German Freemasons were essentially forced to choose between Freemasonry and their livelihoods and career. In May 1934, the Nazi Defense Ministry banned all Freemasons from being under employ, both soldiers and civilians.
Nazi government declares Freemasonry “Hostile to the State”
The Nazi government took it a step further and in October, 1934, Freemasonry was declared as hostile to the Nazi state by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick. By 1935 the German police were forcibly closing Masonic Lodges throughout Germany and seizing their Masonic assets.
In August of 1935, Hitler announced the official dissolution of all German Masonic Lodges, in a Nazi controlled Newspaper.
SS Reinhard Heydrich vs. Freemasonry
Reinhard Heydrich took a lead role in the Nazi suppression of Freemasonry and Freemasons. Heydrich was one of the Nazi elite and an architect of the Holocaust. Heydrich was the 1st director of the SD, a branch of the much-feared SS organization.
Reinhard considered Freemasonry to be intimately linked the Jewish peoples and considered it as part of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. As director of the SD, he set up a special unit, Section II/111, to specifically target Freemasonry.
WW2 Breaks out
The above persecution of Freemasons occurred even before WW2 had even started.
As the Nazis swept through Europe, Masonic Lodges and buildings in Nazi-occupied territories outside Germany were also forcibly shut down and their assets, archives and Masonic items were seized and sent back to the Nazi agencies in charge.
The Nazis began a public propaganda campaign directed against Freemasonry in newly occupied lands, such as France and Belgium. In 1940, Nazi-controlled Paris hosted an exhibition demonizing Freemasonry and another anti-Masonic exhibition in Nazi Occupied Brussels.
During the war, Freemasonry was banned in all Nazi occupied territories and in the nations allied to Nazi Germany.
Allied leaders against Hitler were Freemasons
The Prime Minister of Great Britain (Winston Churchill) and the President of the United States (Franklin D. Roosevelt) at the time of World War 2 were both Freemasons. Also, after the death of Roosevelt, his successor, President Harry Truman was also a Freemason.
Nazi propaganda during the war suggested that Freemasonry and the Jewish community were behind Roosevelt’s policies with Roosevelt’s membership in Freemasonry being public knowledge.
Freemasons in Nazi concentration camps
Under Hitler’s Germany, many groups of people were killed or sent to camps, simply for who they were or who they were born to. Throughout Nazi-controlled territories, Freemasons were also imprisoned and put to death. It has been estimated that the Nazi regime killed up to 200,000 Freemasons.
In concentration camps, Freemasons were forced to wear badges in the shape of an inverted red triangle – as they were treated as political prisoners. Jewish prisoners were forced to wear badges in the shape of the Star of David.
The end of WW2 and Freemasonry
As the Allies and Soviets swept through the conquered Nazi territories, they seized Masonic items and collections that were initially seized by the Nazi regime. A lot of the seized Masonic items were sent to different places.
The Soviets sent a considerable amount of the Masonic stolen items to Moscow – some of which was returned to their original destinations after World War II and some of which still resides in vaults in different countries.
Post-war reunification of Freemasonry
After the war, German Masonry remained in tatters due to the Nazi suppression. Hitler had closed all of Germany’s Grand Lodges. Attempts were made to revive Freemasonry in Germany and unify all the Grand Lodges and Masonic Lodges that were shut down or operating in exile.
This unification of the German Grand Lodges was achieved in 1958 with the formation of the United Grand Lodges of Germany, an association overseeing all Masonic bodies in Germany, to this day. This unification was greatly aided by the United Grand Lodge of England (the oldest Grand Lodge in existence).
Under Hitler, Nazi Germany persecuted many different groups, including Freemasonry and Freemasons. Starting with propaganda and then enacting laws against Masonry, the Nazis brutally suppressed Freemasonry. Only after WW2 ended, did Freemasonry in Germany and Nazi occupied regions fully recover.