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Italian Freemasons vs Facists

There is only one group of men whom the Nazis and the Fascists hated as much as the Jews. They were the Freemasons. In Italy, indeed, the anti-Jewish feeling was of recent vintage and largely artificial, whereas the blackshirt hatred of Freemasonry was old and deep. In their own countries Hitler and Mussolini Inaugurated their respective reigns with outrages against Masons and Masonic institutions, and they have never relaxed the systematic persecution. Now Nazi conquests of other European nations -- whether by invasion of forcible "persuasion" -- are followed automatically by hostile measures against Freemasons.

Having established his regime, Il Duce proceeded step by step to exterminate the lodges and the influence of Italian Freemasonry. Even the Nazi apostle, Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, has admitted in his book "Masonic World Policies" that the Freemasons had been the creators of the united democratic Kingdom of Italy. But this did not win them any mitigation of horrors at the hands of ultra-patriotic Fascists. In 1924, Mussolini decreed that every member of his Fascist Party who was a Mason must abandon one or the other organization. Thereupon General Cappello, one of the most prominent Fascists, who had held the post of Deputy Grand Master of Grande Oriente, Italy's leading Grand Lodge, gave up membership in Fascism rather than betray his Masonic ideals. He was to pay dearly for this loyalty. Less than a year later, he was charged with complicity in an attempt on Mussolini's life. It was a palpable frame-up by an OVRA stoolpigeon name Quaglia, but General Cappello was sentenced to thirty years in prison.

In the summer of 1925 Mussolini got around to dissolving 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 was exile to the Lipari islands. After nearly going blind there, he died soon afterwards. Hundreds of other prominent Masons shared the harsh Lipari exile with him. At the peak of the anti-Mason agitation, in 1925-27, blackshirt strong-arm squads looted the homes of well-known Masons in Milan, Florence and other cities, and murdered at least 100 of them.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:58:43 ZULU