Freemasons vs Nazis
There is only one group of men whom the Nazis and the Fascists hated as much as the Jews. They were the Freemasons. 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.
In "Mein Kampf", Hitler merges his twin phobias: "The general pacifistic paralyzation of the national instinct of self-preservation, introduced into the circles of the so-called `intelligentsia' by Freemasonry, is transmitted to the great masses, but above all to the bourgeoisie, by the activity of the great press, which today is always Jewish." And one of the first official statements made by Hermann Goering in his capacity as Prime Minister of Prussia, when the Nazis took over power in 1933, was that "in National Socialist Germany there is no place for Freemasonry."
After the German debacle of 1918, the frustrated man who had been the virtual master of Germany's destinies, General Erich Ludendorff, south an outlet for his bitterness in diatribes against Freemasonry. Right up to his death, Ludendorff devoted himself wholly to propaganda intended to prove that the war, the ensuing German revolution, and most other world ills had been the doing of the Masons. He published a pamphlet entitled "Annihilation of Freemasonry Through the Revelation of Its Secrets" wherein the so-called secrets of Freemasonry were "revealed" for the hundredth time since the foundation of the Order in 1717, without, however, annihilating Masonry. The senile general's main thesis was that Freemasonry is a Jewish device intended to make "artificial Jews." On one page the hand that had led Germany to disaster in 1918 wrote: "It is cheating the people to fight the Jew while allowing his auxiliary troop, Freemasonry ... to function."
Immediately on Hitler's rise to power, the ten Grand Lodges of Germany were dissolved. Many among the prominent dignitaries and members of the Order were sent to concentration camps. The Gestapo seized the membership lists of the Grand Lodges and looted their libraries and collections of Masonic objects. Much of this loot was then exhibited in an "Anti-Masonic Exposition" inaugurated in 1937 by Herr Dr. Joseph Goebbels in Munich. The Exposition included completely furnished Masonic temples.
In 1938 Hitler's own publishing house, which put out both "Mein Kampf" and the official "Volkischer Beobachter", issued a volume on "Freemasonry, Its World View (Weltanschauung), Organization and Policies". The preface is written by Herr Heydrich, second in command of the Gestapo, and hence an expert on oppression and violence, and hinted openly at the seizure of libraries and property of German Freemasonry. The book itself, by one Dieter Schwarz, discloses that every new Nazi member must "confirm by his word of honor that he does not belong to a Masonic lodge." In outlining the official Nazi on the subject, it says in part:
"Nordic is the Nazi conception of the world, Jewish-Oriental that of the Freemasons; incontrast to the anti-racial attitude of the lodges, the Nazi attitude is race conscious.... Masonic lodges are... associations of men who, closely bound together in a union employing symbolical usages, represent a supra-national spiritual movement, the idea of Humanity... a general association of mankind, without distinction of races, peoples, religions, social and political convictions."
Nazi conquests of other European nations -- whether by invasion of forcible "persuasion" -- were followed automatically by hostile measures against Freemasons. The persecution was carried over into Austria when the country was captured by the Nazis. The Masters of the various Vienna lodges were immediately confined in the most notorious concentration camps, including the horrible living hell at Dachau in Bavaria. The same procedure was repeated when Hitler took over Czechoslovakia, then Poland. Immediately after conquering Holland and Belgium, the Nazis ordered the dissolution of the lodges in those nations. It was also Point One on the agenda of Major Quisling in Norway. It may be taken as part of the same ugly picture that General Franco of Spain in 1940 sentenced all Freemasons in his realm automatically to ten years in prison. When France fell in June 1940, the Vichy government caused the two Masonic bodies of France, the Grand Orient and the Grenade Loge to be dissolved, their property being seized and sold at auction.
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