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Where and when have Freemasons actively persecuted?

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I remember being told once that Freemasonry before the Second World War was much more open than it was afterwards and that that was due to the persecution of Freemasons by Hitler.Is this true?



Have they suffered anywhere else?



If anyone could point me in the direction of some interesting reads I would be grateful.



Thanks in advance.

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Why is Freemasonry so Secret in Britain? By Mike Martin, July 2001.

“So why do you belong to that secret society?” is a question I get asked once in a while. When I reply “which “secret society” is that then?” You get the “you know, the masons” accompanied by twitching and “over the shoulder” looks. Every one who isn’t a Freemason seems to believe that Freemasonry’s “secret” status swings between wild theories of “New World Orders”, “12 foot lizard men” and “silly old men dressed up in pinnys, tweaking each others nipples in the dark”.

There were 12 years between the time of deciding that I wanted to be one and becoming a Freemason. During that time, I read many books about Freemasonry, written by both Freemasons and non-masons alike, that clearly indicated (to me at least) that although it was definitely a private body, it was only “secret” in some people’s minds. However, even this privacy appeared to be at odds with the historical accounts that I had read about the Craft’s place in Society, the fact that members tended to be looked upon as “Pillars of Society” and that the Grand Master was actually a member of the Royal Family.

Shortly after my initiation into Freemasonry I noticed that some members of my lodge were wearing a badge in the shape of a little blue flower. However, when I asked them what it was (thinking it was, maybe a “secret” symbol) and what it meant I received non-committal replies about it being a “Forget-Me-Not” and “having something to do with German Freemasons during the War”. I decided to find out what this flower was all about, the search into the history of that little emblem has opened up to me, a distinctly horrifying time during the history of Freemasonry. It has also helped me to understand how Freemasonry gained its “secret” reputation here in the UK in answer to the threat from National Socialist or “Nazi” Germany and I also hope that my writing about it will help other newcomers to the Craft when quizzed in the same vein. My first clue to the violations committed against Freemasonry across Europe in those dark days came when I bought one of these badges and read the “potted” history that is supplied with it. However, having now looked further into the events surrounding the rise to power of the Nazis and the other “Axis powers”, it strikes me that most knowledge of this persecution of Freemasonry is centred on the events within Germany itself. This is obviously due to the story of the same “Forget-Me-Not” emblem having now passed into masonic lore, however that persecution was felt Europe-wide.

Of course it is right that the anti-Jewish outrages committed by the Nazis are common historical fare. However, mainstream historians appear to be unaware of the systematic defilement of Freemasonry, considered by Hitler and his Nazi Party as well as his Axis allies to be at best a tool of the Jewish conspiracy and at worst a full-blown partner in it. These actions against Freemasonry will probably ever remain consigned to the periphery of 20th Century history, due to the unfathomable evil and magnitude of the other events occurring at that time.

The story really begins towards the end of the First World war, against the backdrop of growing unease and fear caused by the slow but inexorable rise of several totalitarian governments (which were to become the Axis coalition) which were gaining control across Europe as well as further afield. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco all inaugurated their reigns with outrages against Freemasonry and it seems that they never relaxed their respective persecutions of the Craft. The conquest of nations by Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers appears to have always been followed by hostile measures against Freemasonry. From Norway to the Balkans, the progress of the black Swastika trawled hate, vandalism and death in its wake.

USSR: In 1917, as one of their first acts, the Bolsheviks dissolved all lodges in Russia. Any attempts to re-establish Russian Freemasonry met with the mandate of the 4th Congress of the Communist International in Moscow which required all Communist Masons to sever their lodge membership. They could not be considered for important posts in the new “reign” until at least two years after their severance. In 1925 Telepneff wrote, "regular Masonic activities of every description have ceased in Russia proper, due to the severe restrictions imposed by Bolshevist authorities." (At the time of writing Russian Freemasonry has only just started to re-establish itself.)

Finland: Tsar Alexander 1 had already forbidden secret societies (including Freemasonry) in Finland in 1822. As a result Freemasonry had only started to re-appear in Finland during the 1920s under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of New York with the Grand Lodge of Finland established in 1924. At the outbreak of the War, Finland declared its neutrality. The USSR, however, demanded that Finland cede certain territory. When the Finns refused, Soviet forces invaded in November 1939. During this “Winter War” the Grand Lodge decided to close down activities. When Germany attacked the USSR in June 1941, the Finns again proclaimed “neutrality”, however, German use of Finnish territory led the USSR to bomb Finnish cities.

Italy: Mussolini went about the business of destroying the Craft in Italy. Having established his regime, he attempted to destroy the influence of Freemasonry and its lodges as he saw it. In 1924, Mussolini decreed that every member of his Fascist Party who was a Freemason must abandon one or the other organisation. General Cappello, one of the most prominent Fascists, who had held the post of Deputy Grand Master of the Grande Oriente, gave up membership in Fascism rather than betray his masonic ideals. He paid dearly for his loyalty, less than a year later, he was charged with complicity in an attempt on Mussolini's life and he was sentenced to thirty years in prison. In the summer of 1925 Mussolini officially dissolved Italian Freemasonry. In an open letter to Il Duce, the Grand Master of the Grande Oriente, Domizio Torrigiani, had the courage to stand up for democracy and freedom of thought. The price he paid for this stand was exile to the Lipari Islands. Hundreds of other prominent Freemasons were also exiled with him. At the peak of the anti-masonic agitation, in 1925-27, Blackshirt hooligans looted the homes of well-known Freemasons in Milan, Florence and other cities, and murdered at least 100 of them.

Japan:

Spain: The Fascists were gaining more power across central Europe and Freemasonry was being targetted in most countries under their control. In 1925, Spain's first dictator, General Primo de Rivera, ordered the abolition of Freemasonry in his country. Then the rebellion of 1936 caused a civil war and in the territories held by General Franco, Freemasons and trade unionists were being arrested and executed. Some researchers claim that a large percentage of the 75,000 death toll of this conflict were Freemasons. In 1937 General Franco claimed that “ Freemasonry with all its international influence is the organisation responsible for the political ruin of Spain. In March of 1940 Franco banned Freemasonry and decreed that it was a felony to be a Freemason or to exhort the principles of Freemasonry. He further ordered all of its money and properties to be confiscated. All freemasons in “good standing” (this included those who officials felt had resigned to protect themselves) were now criminals and were sentenced automatically to twelve years in prison. Those who had received degrees above the 18th or Grand Officers looked forward to more than the statutory 12 years as they were considered to have “aggravated circumstances”. All freemasons were required to turn themselves in to the Authorities within 2 months of the decree, those that worked in government or public jobs were immediately sacked. However, Freemasons who agreed to give the names of their superiors, the Officers involved in their initiation or even just other Freemasons were treated less harshly.

The Third Reich: Hitler was a minor war hero after being wounded twice during the Great War. His paranoia about Freemasonry first surfaced in his book “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) which he began writing in prison in 1924 where he was serving a 5 year sentence for the crime of Sedition as a result of the failed “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich in November 1923. In the book he clearly demonstrated his antagonism towards international Judaism as well as listing Freemasonry as one of its tools. In the book he blames the German loss of WWI on a Marxist conspiracy due to the 1917/8 General Strike. He concluded that it was a Judaeo/Masonic/Bolshevik conspiracy to prevent Germany from gaining its rightful position in World affairs. This is how Hitler viewed Freemasonry, in his own words taken from Mein Kampf, Chapter 11, Race and People:

“The propaganda which the freemasons had carried on among the so-called intelligentsia, whereby their pacifist teaching paralysed the instinct for national self-preservation, was now extended to the broad masses of the workers and bourgeoisie by means of the Press, which was almost everywhere in Jewish hands.”

“The Jew realized that in his efforts to reach the position of public despot he would need a ‘peace-maker.’ And he thought he could find a peace-maker if he could whip-in sufficient extensive sections of the bourgeois. But the freemasons failed to catch the glove-manufacturers and the linen-weavers in the frail meshes of their net. And so it became necessary to find a grosser and withal a more effective means. Thus another weapon beside that of freemasonry would have to be secured. This was the Press.”

“In order to strengthen his (the Jew) political position, he directed his efforts towards removing the barrier of racial and civic discrimination which had hitherto hindered his advance at every turn. With characteristic tenacity he championed the cause of religious tolerance for this purpose; and in the freemason organization, which had fallen completely into his hands, he found a magnificent weapon which helped him to achieve his ends. Government circles, as well as the higher sections of the political and commercial bourgeoisie, fell a prey to his plans through his manipulation of the masonic net, though they themselves did not even suspect what was happening.”

General Erich Ludendorff, (who was, incidentally, one of Hitler’s heroes and co-offenders in 1923) was the German military leader responsible for Germany’s submarine warfare successes during WWI and a leading light in the Nazi Party. After 1918 he appears to have spent most of his time trying to prove that Germany’s WWI defeat and the following revolution were due to Freemasonry. He published the book “The Destruction of Freemasonry through the Revelation of its Secrets” in 1924 condemning and supposedly exposing its secrets. In his own words: "Masonry brings its members into conscious subjection to the Jews...... it trains them to become venal Jews.... German Masonry is a branch of organized international Masonry, the headquarters of which are in New York.... there also is the seat of Jewish world power...."

and “It is cheating the people to fight the Jew while allowing his auxiliary troop, Freemasonry to function”.

One of the first official actions made by Hermann Goering in his capacity as Prime Minister of Prussia, when the Nazis took over power in 1934, was a decree dissolving masonic Grand Lodges it included the statement that "in National Socialist Germany there is no place for Freemasonry”.

In 1935 shortly after Hitler’s brutal rise to power in Germany, it became evident that Freemasonry itself was in very real danger as he outlawed all masonic organisations not under the direct control of the Third Reich and dissolved the ten German Grand Lodges. He declared that all masonic lodges had engaged in subversive acts against the state, confiscated all lodge properties. Many prominent dignitaries and members of the Order were sent to concentration camps. The Gestapo seized membership lists of the Grand Lodges and looted libraries and collections of masonic objects. (Much of this masonic “loot” went on to form the basis of Goebbels’ "Anti-Masonic Exposition" held in Munich in 1937, it even included completely furnished masonic temples.) The Nazi Party ordered the words "Freemason" and "Lodge" to be discontinued and international Masonic relations to cease. The irregular Grand Lodge of the Three Globes became the "National Christian Order of Frederick the Great." Dr. Otto Bordes, its "grand master" agreed that masonic ceremonial would not be practised, and members would not be made Freemasons. They worked several "degrees" based on the "Aryan" myth. According to some researchers, there were approximately 70,000 Freemasons of good standing in Germany at the time. It is rumoured that Eichmann “secretly” issued orders that every single one should be put to death. Needless to say, these rumours also claim that in the region of 65,000 German brethren met their untimely deaths on the strength of these orders and that the remaining 5,000 (as for some reason their names were not listed in the books of their Grand Lodge) escaped and went underground.

Austria succumbed (March 1938) to the power of the Third Reich, this persecution continued, the Masters of the various Vienna lodges were immediately arrested and deported to some of the most notorious concentration camps, inclu ding Dachau in Bavaria.

Czechoslovakia (March 1939), the same procedure was repeated when Nazis troops simply occupied Bohemia and Moravia, (they were armed with lodge listings compiled in 1938) making them a “protectorate” of the Reich. For good measure the Nazis also incited the Slovaks to declare their own independent fascist republic.

Poland (September 1939), Nazi forces had overrun most of western and central Poland. In the same month, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east, and the two armies divided the country between them. Enormous reprisals were exacted against the Poles in the Nazi-occupied region including the usual dismantling of Freemasonry. In the Soviet-occupied area, many thousands of Poles were forcibly deported to Siberia, and many others were killed. Nazi forces occupied all of Soviet-held Poland during their attack on the USSR in 1941. During their occupation of the country, Nazi forces pursued a policy of systematic extermination of the Polish people, particularly Jews and Freemasons, many of whom perished at concentration camps scattered throughout the country.

The Netherlands (May 1940), immediately after conquering the Netherlands, Nazi forces started to liquidate the Order of Freemasons. Buildings, archives and funds were confiscated, private masonic belongings of brethren were requisitioned. Temples were literally destroyed with archives and libraries being sent to Germany, buildings and furniture sold by public auction. The Grand Master H. van Tongeren, was taken to Germany, and died only three months later in a prison camp.

Belgium (May 1940), the Nazis had compiled over 2,000 dossiers on Belgium Freemasons in preparation for their invasion. On completion they immediately ordered the dissolution of masonic lodges. Three months later 82 crates of books, works of art and masonic furniture were seized from the lodges in Brussels, in all around 179 crates of masonic property were seized and shipped to Germany.

Norway (June 1940), Shortly after the defeat of the Norwegian army, the dissolution of masonic lodges was the first action on the agenda of Major Quisling.

France (June 1940) signed an armistice with the Nazis and the puppet Vichy government caused the two Masonic bodies of France, the Grand Orient and the Grenade Loge to be dissolved whilst, at the same time seizing their property and later selling it at auction. As with the earlier appropriations in Germany, some of this property will probably have formed the basis of the Anti-Freemason and anti-Jewish exhibition in the Petit Palais, Paris in 1942.

Greece (April 1941), many Greek Freemasons participated actively in the struggle on the Northern Epirus mountains and lodges in the cities were helping in any way they could. Two Freemasons, both its King and Prime Minister led the country at that time. Twenty one days after invasion, the Nazis reached Athens and one of their first actions was to go to the Masonic Hall, confiscate whatever records were left there and inflict serious damage to the property. (This fate was shared by the other masonic properties throughout the Country). The next step was to arrest the then Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Philotas Papageorgiou. He was taken to prison where he was kept under very harsh conditions, which caused irrevocable damage to his health and although he was released some seven months later, he never recovered and died in 1947.

Even the countries that remained outwardly independent or even allied with the Axis powers had to prove their support by taking equally harsh measures against Freemasonry within their borders.

Romania was initially neutral, however, its internal policies aligned it with the Axis powers and led to a policy of friendship towards Nazi Germany this included a prohibition on Freemasonry. In June 1940, without opposition from Germany, the Soviet Union occupied Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. This was followed by a later German occupation, as Romania’s oil pipelines were crucial to the Reich's energy supplies.

Bulgaria and Yugoslavia (April 1941), were also required to enact twin sets of laws (anti-Semitic and anti-masonic) in order to fully demonstrate their compliance with the Nazis. However, the Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia, at least, had already taken the decision to cease all masonic work in its lodges on 2 August 1940 and it remained dark until 23 June 1990.

Hungary (March 1944), Bela Kun had confiscated all industrial and commercial enterprises as communal property, banks were expropriated, a number of newspapers were banned and all masonic lodges were dissolved after he had proclaimed the dictatorship of the proletariat in March 1919. Hungary underwent several changes of government prior to the outbreak of WWII and although it proclaimed neutrality it appears to have been sympathetic to the Axis cause. This meant that when the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944, no further activity was required against Freemasons, as they had never been allowed to resume their activities.

Britain: The United Grand Lodge of England suspended all masonic meetings in September of 1939 in response to the National Emergency. However, in December of that year the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge allowed meetings to resume but requested that all members of “ENEMY” nationality or birth should temporarily withdraw in the interests of harmony. Meanwhile, the Axis powers were making in-roads into English society in the form of Oswald Mosely’s British Union of Fascists and Spencer Leese’s Imperial Fascist League. Both of these organisations produced anti-masonic and anti-Jewish propaganda as well as supplying intelligence to the Nazis in Germany.

Freemasons in Britain had only to look helplessly across the English Channel, to see the treatment of their brethren 25 miles away in France (some researchers estimate around 1,000 French Freemasons were deported to Nazi concentration camps). A little further away, but importantly a part of Britain, the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands was invaded after a night of heavy bombing on 29th June 1940 was invaded by Nazi force. Despite promises from the German commanders that Freemasons and masonic property were not at risk, the Masonic Temple was quickly ransacked and Masonic property (and allegedly some Freemasons) was either vandalised or shipped off to Germany fo ran Anti-Masonic exhibition to be carried out in Berlin the following year..

It comes as a surprise to many Freemasons when they learn that Nazi Intelligence, in preparation for their anticipated invasion and occupation of Britain compiled a “Special Search List Great Britain” (Sonderfahndanglist G.B.). The list contained nearly 3,000 entries including names of prominent Freemasons as well as addresses of masonic buildings and companies that had dealings with Freemasons that would be singled out for special treatment upon completion of the invasion. Undoubtedly, this list will have included Sir Winston Churchill our Prime Minister at the time, as well as the Duke of Kent and King George VII. The existence of such a list clearly demonstrates that the Nazis would have followed their usual programme of suppression (or worse) if their invasion plans had come to fruition. Another little known fact is that whilst UGLE appears to have remained largely unaware (at least officially) of these sinister events, individual Freemasons were obviously aware of and worried by the events occurring in mainland Europe. Some had even gone as far as making the heart-rending decision to end the lives of themselves and their loved ones rather than to fall into the hands of the Nazis, if they landed on English soil.

I have not been able (to date) to find any specific references to treatment of Freemasons in other countries under Axis influence such as: Denmark (April 1940) fell to Nazi invasion forces and surrendered; Luxembourg (May 1940), also fell to Nazi invaders. The reigning Grand Duchess, Charlotte, subsequently established a government-in-exile in London; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: In June 1940, occupied by Soviet forces in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. On August 6, 1940, Estonia became a republic of the USSR. When Germany attacked the USSR in June 1941, Estonia was occupied by German troops.

Conclusions: This brief foray into those times cannot really begin to convey the full horror and fear that must have been felt by our brethren at the time. However, it does go some way to explaining why a “cloak of secrecy” was adopted by the Craft at a time when these dictators appeared to be unstoppable. At a time when it looked as if their plans might succeed and an invasion of Britain appeared imminent, with the attendant spectres of murder, imprisonment and social exclusion waiting in the wings for Freemasonry generally and even people with connections to it. It may also, give us a hint as to why it is proving so difficult to shake it off, even now nearly 60 years after the War was won and Nazism was defeated. This has lead me to two conclusions:

The Forget-Me-Not badge should not just symbolise the resistance offered by German Freemasons during the dark times of the 30s and 40s against Nazi oppression but rather the efforts of Freemasons across Europe and Asia during the first half of the 20th Century. The ranks of those regimes oppressing the Craft has also included the Fascists, the Bolsheviks and the Communists. We should present one of these little flowers to every newly made mason, explaining that “Throughout the ages the darkest of evil has not been able to snuff out the light of Freemasonry, this tiny flower symbolises the fact that even extremist forces have no power against our tenets, namely, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth ”

We must shake of this unnecessary secretiveness, the modern-day detractors of Freemasonry are snapping at the ankles of this grand old institution in an attempt to influence the public’s perception of it. On the whole their efforts appear to be meeting with success, to the point where our own Government has even attempted to compel all Freemasons in Public Service to register their membership as an interest likely (because of its obligations) to put them at risk of corruption or collusion. These people are trying to drag the reputation of our members and traditions to the level of clandestine criminality and in some cases are even attempting the destruction of Freemasonry. The conspiracy theorists making these wild accusations against the Craft are gaining in reputation and we appear to be losing the upper hand. These people are not going to simply go away and their accusations are neither benign nor trivial. It is having consequences for our membership right now and undoubtedly will continue to do so into the future unless we act. We must accept that action is required and begin to provide full and honest answers to these claims of wrong doing amongst our ranks, even if it is only to confirm the invalidity of the claims.

Mike Martin, 12th July 2001

Sources:

The “Potted History” supplied with Forget-Me-Not badges

“Mein Kampf”: Adolf Hitler

“Fascist Attack”: Freemasonry Today, Autumn 1997, by Matthew Scanlan

Pietre-Stone’s Review of Freemasonry”: http://users.iol.it/fjit.bvg/freemas.html

“The German Propaganda Archives”: http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/

“The Annihilation of Freemasonry”: The American Mercury, Feb 1941 by Sven G. Lunden

“The US Holocaust Memorial Museum: http://www.ushmm.com/ Papers referring to Freemasonry It is worth noting that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum holds thousands of items of Nazi documentation detailing the joint procedures for investigating and dealing with Freemasons and Jews in the occupied countries. Records of the RSHA - Reichssicherheitshauptamt [Office of the High Command of Security Service pursuing the racial objectives of the SS through Race and Resettlement Office.

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An interesting article Mike. I am not sure that the current trend of opening up and trying to be "all fluffy" is in fact working to the advantage of Masonry. I was in public service when steps were taken to expose and vilify Freemasons by requiring them to declare their membership. To do so was virtual "career suicide". The Church of England, or rather that numpty of an Archbishop, declared that membership of Freemasonry would be a bar to promotion within the Church.

Various edicts by both the Church of England and the Catholic Church, still decry and penalise Masonic membership through distortion, lies and theological flim flam. Becoming more open has had precious little beneficial effect against their closed minds and propaganda. To say "the danger's over" or "it couldn't happen here" is a short sighted and dangerous attitude. Recent attempts to "outlaw" Masonry by the previous Government and hold "enquiries into alleged Masonic influence in public office", show there are still forces at work with an anti-Masonic agenda.

Attempts by Grand Lodge to allay fears by trying to appease the very people we put a guard on the door to keep out, have involved the removal of traditional parts of the ritual and the "butchering" of the Royal Arch ritual, to the detriment of our traditions and honour.

I am, as you can tell, against becoming more open. To those who seek to criticise or ridicule our ceremonies , I simply say,"Mind your own business. Nobody is asking you to join." I think, if Masonry is going through a period of declining membership then so be it. We may end up with fewer members and fewer Lodges. I would venture that the ones who remain and who still seek to join would be more "Masonically motivated" than some of the ones we are attempting to drag over the doorway, whether suitable or not. I think we should be more, not less, discerning in who we seek to propose as members.

I would also be happier if my details on the UGLE database were better protected. You only have to observe how tin-pot councillor officials are misusing "anti terrorist legislation" to prosecute people who put their bins out on the wrong day, to realise that our details can be easily accessed by those who abuse legal powers.

I also think that the ever spreading cancer of the political correctness dictatorship is a very real danger to both society in general and also to Freemasonry.

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Thanks Mike and Russell.Facintaing stuff.



Wiki says

'The number of Freemasons from Nazi occupied countries who were killed is not accurately known, but it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were murdered under the Nazi regime'



That's a lot of people.







'I am, as you can tell, against becoming more open. To those who seek to criticise or ridicule our ceremonies , I simply say,"Mind your own business. Nobody is asking you to join." I think, if Masonry is going through a period of declining membership then so be it. We may end up with fewer members and fewer Lodges. I would venture that the ones who remain and who still seek to join would be more "Masonically motivated" than some of the ones we are attempting to drag over the doorway, whether suitable or not. I think we should be more, not less, discerning in who we seek to propose as members.'



A thoroughly thought provoking post,if I may say.

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Guest Ash
From someone that is brand new to the Craft, I found that very interesting. I had no idea about the extent of the persecution that went on. I have a Forget-me-not pin and shall wear it with even more pride now I know the full facts.



It also arms me better when someone asks me about it and why I wear one. :)

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Guest Ash
:blush: I would have bought one from there if I had known .. I will go venture into he shop and see what else there is. I haven't strayed out of the forum part yet!

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Whilst the forget me not pin is a nice story, lets not lose sight of the facts. Here is an extract from QCC



The origin of the information is an article in TAU 2/95 p.95f (the German Quatuor Coronati periodical), a "letter to the Editor" which appeared in TAU 1/96 in reply to that article.



In the years between WW1 and WW2 the blue forget-me-not was a standard symbol used by most charitable organizations in Germany, with a very clear meaning: "Do not forget the poor and the destitute". It was first introduced in German Masonry in 1926, well before the Nazi era, at the annual Communication of the Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne", in Bremen, where it was distributed to all the participants.

That was a terrible time in Germany, economically speaking, further aggravated in 1929 following that year's "Great Depression". The economic situation, by the way, contributed a lot to Hitler's accession to power. Very many people depended on charity, some of which was Masonic. Distributing the forget-me-not at the Grand Lodge Communication was meant to remind German Brethren of the charitable activities of the Grand Lodge.



In 1936 (Hitler was already in control since 1933) the "Winterhilfswerk" (a non- Masonic winter charity drive) held a collection and used and distributed the same symbol, again with its obvious charitable connotation. Some of the Masons who remembered the 1926 Communication --and the forget-me-not-- possibly also wore it later as a sign of recognition. We have no evidence of that and its general signification still was charity, but not specifically Masonic charity. Moreover it rapidly became quite impossible to risk wearing anything but Nazi pins. So there were probably only a very few Brethren wearing the forget-me-not, and probably only for a brief time, until wearing any non-Nazi pins became suspect. There is absolutely no record of the pin, or the flower, ever having been worn during the war (that is after 1939), even less in concentration camps, as the legend also goes.



In 1948 Bro. Theodor Vogel, Master of the Lodge "Zum weißen Gold am Kornberg", in Selb (then in Western-occupied Germany), remembered the 1926 and 1936 pin, had a few hundred made and started handing it out as a Masonic symbol wherever he went. When Brother Vogel was later elected GM of the Grand Lodge of Germany and visited a Grand Masters' conference in Washington, DC, he distributed it there too, and this was the way it first came to the USA.



Its sudden popularity caused many manufacturers, some Masonic, some not, to pounce upon the occasion and sell the pin all over the world, with a variety of rather contrived and imaginative notes of explanation. The pin is nowadays quite well-known, as are the legends written about its origin, purpose and use... Which does not deter after all from the new message it carries today, through its authors' imagination if not through rigorous historical record

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Mike Martin (28/10/2010)

It comes as a surprise to many Freemasons when they learn that Nazi Intelligence, in preparation for their anticipated invasion and occupation of Britain compiled a “Special Search List Great Britain” (Sonderfahndanglist G.B.). The list contained nearly 3,000 entries including names of prominent Freemasons as well as addresses of masonic buildings and companies that had dealings with Freemasons that would be singled out for special treatment upon completion of the invasion. Undoubtedly, this list will have included Sir Winston Churchill our Prime Minister at the time, as well as the Duke of Kent and King George VII. The existence of such a list clearly demonstrates that the Nazis would have followed their usual programme of .

George VI mate..?

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WantToLearn (30/10/2010)
Mike Martin (28/10/2010)

It comes as a surprise to many Freemasons when they learn that Nazi Intelligence, in preparation for their anticipated invasion and occupation of Britain compiled a “Special Search List Great Britain” (Sonderfahndanglist G.B.). The list contained nearly 3,000 entries including names of prominent Freemasons as well as addresses of masonic buildings and companies that had dealings with Freemasons that would be singled out for special treatment upon completion of the invasion. Undoubtedly, this list will have included Sir Winston Churchill our Prime Minister at the time, as well as the Duke of Kent and King George VII. The existence of such a list clearly demonstrates that the Nazis would have followed their usual programme of .

George VI mate..?

I can often be picky myself, but who's counting ... ?

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Haha no no i wasnt being a **** about it. I was trying to be helpful. Its obviously a slight typo. If i had written such an excellent article id want it to be as perfect as possible. Was just trying to help.

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After my initiation I was given our provinces tie as a gift to wear to our next meeting etc.

One of the older Brothers told me that he only ever wears a black tie to meeting and told me this is as a sign of respect for "fallen" brothers after the Great War (WW1).

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Rueben Moriarty (31/10/2010)
After my initiation I was given our provinces tie as a gift to wear to our next meeting etc.

One of the older Brothers told me that he only ever wears a black tie to meeting and told me this is as a sign of respect for "fallen" brothers after the Great War (WW1).

Rueben

If you want this answered you must start a new topic. This topic is about persecution of Freemasons.

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Ok sorry.

I wasn't asking for anything to be answered, but rather contributing to the thread. I was reading Mikes essay about Freemasons persecution throughout WW2 and wearing the forget me not pins and this reminded me of why someone told me why we wear black ties. Or at least why his generation wear black ties and will continue to only wear them when given a choice of wearing a provincial tie.

I thought I was just adding to the topic, it didn't need answering. I'm clearly sorry for time wasting.

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Hi Reuben,

Stephen is right, the subject of the persecution of Freemasons is quite unrelated to Freemasons serving and dying in the Armed Forces.

There is a topic on here somewhere we discussed the fallacy of the black tie story, I'll try and find it.

In fact here's one: http://www.thefreemason.com/community/Topic384-6-1.aspx

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Anyone who wathes my facebook page knows that persecution of the Craft, even by Craft members is still alive and well unfortunately. :(

I feel sorry for my Brother in Vermont who after seeming to be openminded and understanding, suddenly changed. It saddens my heart that he is in such pain in his own life. :crying: It is something he will have to work through for himself. He unfriended and blocked me. This was about 6 months ago. If he ever chooses to come back and request friendship again, I will gladly welcome him back without question as I did the first time. ..no harm, no fowl.

Fortunately in modern society, and in larger cities we are more insulated from the more violent forms of persecution. True persecution isn't as easy as unfriending or blocking someone who offends you. Fortunately too, it is usually a non-mason doing the persecution.

Sad and mystifying to me of course are the David I's of this world. Then the former masons who spread such lies about the craft as it being satin worship. In Europe and the US; I am so very glad that the atrocities of WWII seem to be have been left to the dusts of time. I however doubt the same can be said of the situation in the middle east currently. I bet there are many more than just Christians being persecuted for their beliefs and memberships.

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My Mother Lodge in Austria was "put into darkness" when the Nazis took over in 1938. Several Lodge members were sent to various concentration camps (not only for being Freemasons). Two members of the Lodge were excluded as they had joined the Nazi party. None of the (few) survivors came back to the lodge after the war.

The forget-me-not existed well before the war and I have not heard of anyone publicly wearing masonic bagdes/pins (forget-me-not or otherwise) during the war in Austria.

Like most places in this party of the world freemasonry is not looked upon favourably by most and it is considered best not to let people know you are a member, especially in the workplace. I know of some brethren who were given the choice of deciding between keeping their jobs or remainign a Freemason.

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Persecution is too strong a word for my example, but there is strong opposition to Freemasons in the Presbyterian church here. Just last Friday a Brother, an Elder in the church (I think Elder is the correct term, it is not my particular denomination), was telling me he had to leave his church and move elsewhere because of the unyielding attitude of his minister. Persecution, although of a much less physically dangerous form, is, unfortunately, alive and well, and living nearby.

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Hello Frank,

I am of the opinion that 'persecution' is correctly attributed within the context of this post. Dictionary definitions provide 2 qty options of which both are applicable. One is persecution applied from those outside our own community and the other is persecution from within our own community.


Not with standing the alleged Elder of the Presbyterian faith being made unwelcome in his church - I am sure Masons of all denominations can also recall such occurrences. But it is when Masons are perceived to be persecuting fellow members of the craft, is more alarming.

A good example of a bad example is that of a Provincial Chaplain (ordained Minister) resigning from the Order while in office and no one cared of him. Does he now persecute the Order or is it up those those who allegedly heard nothing, allegedly saw nothing to morally persecute themselves as the price to pay for being a good subservient member.

Unlike during the Nazi era, Masons today have embodied in common Law the protection from persecutors. However the neglect to adhering to our tenets and teachings by some Masons persecute the greater number by their deeds. But we can never compare with parity of the persecution to which the Jew or Mason suffered.


I wear my Remembrance Poppy with pride because I have the right not to wear it at all. I also regularly display the forget me not because I have the right not to. And I equally challenge perpetrators in the Order but unfortunately Masonic Law affords no protection.

L1

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