Secret Society Under Fire: 7 Facts about the Freemasons During World War II

French Anti-Masonic and Anti-Semetic Poster. Pinterest

Propaganda against Freemasons Blamed Them for the War and Called them Jews

As Hitler rose to power it was no surprise that the propaganda and backlash against the Freemasons only grew. In Mein Kampf, Hitler had written that “the Jew” used Freemasonry as a tool and that the masonic lodges were “completely under the Jews spell.” By 1935, masonic lodges in Germany had been effectively shut down, their possession seized and members who held any positions of power were relieved of their duties.

Despite this, propaganda against the Freemasons only increased. Articles and cartoons were frequently printed that told of the “Jewish-Masonic Conspiracy.” Propaganda pushed the idea that there was a conspiracy between the Freemasons and Jews to dominate the world. Posters would boldly proclaim “All Masons Jews! – All Jews Masons!” To aid in his propaganda mission, Hitler had the Russian anti-Jewish and Anti-Masonic book called Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion translated into German.

The propaganda spread throughout Nazi occupied territories. In 1943, the French released Occult Forces – The Mysteries of Freemasonry unveiled for the first time on screen. The plot of the film follows a young man who joins the Freemasons in the hope of relaunching his career. As he joins the fraternity he learned that the Jews and Anglo-American countries are conspiring together to push France into war with the Germans.

The propaganda built upon the already widespread suspicions against Jews and Freemasons. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion had already been published around the world and Freemasons had already been under attack in Spain and Russia. In Spain, many masons had already been brutally killed and by 1940 anyone who was known to be a mason faced ten years in prison at a minimum and possible death.  With propaganda and hatred rampant most Freemasons went underground and only met in secret.

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  • Ken McConnell

    Much better than expected. Thank you.

  • MichaelLust

    If there is anything despots and autocrats all hate and fear, the privacy of citizens, engaged with one another, talking and working with one another, beyond the control of their secret police.

  • Timpic

    Interestingly during the American Revolution all secret societies were made illegal in Britain in order to stem the possibility of revolution at home However Lord Mora who was Master of the rand Lodge, and a friend of George III made a special appeal to the king, saying that as Freemasons were supportive of all the traditional British institutions, including the monarchy it was unthinkable that any freemason would rebel against the monarchy. On that assurance Freemasonry in Britain was allowed to continue as a secret society. If only there had been Freemasonry in America at the time of the revolution, all Mora would have had to do is remind his brothers of their fealty to the king and it would all have been over! 🙂

    • Michael Gowland

      There was a little more to it than that, if you look at our rules and constitutions we (United Grand Lodge of England regular masons) now operate under a concept and enforced system of regularity that has been specifically designed to ensure that lodges do not engage in political activity. We have also long since introduced the maintenance of membership records by Grand Lodge that ensures that we did not fall under the definition of a secret society used in the legislation. Thus, there was a lot more going on there than a simple verbal reassurance by Lord Mora, substantial reforms of Masonry took place. These were not mere cosmetic changes. There have been instances where masonic lodges have been infiltrated by politically motivated groups and have started to operate as politically active secret societies, but they have been identified and expelled (Propaganda Due, “P2” comes to mind as an example). The primary object of Visiting Officers from a Grand Lodge is to make sure such things are not taking place. Moreover, the masonry I am a member of is in no way a secret society; which is why many members, such as myself, are very open about our membership (though not about our rituals which we regard as sacred and hence as belonging in a special, private space).

      • Timpic

        But Michael, whatever is or is not happening today recall that my point on the subject is that during the American Revolution members of Grand Lodge in England lied about the fact that their ‘brothers’ in the colonies were in open rebellion to their anointed King, And indeed claimed that Masonry was completely supportive of the crown regardless of what has happened since. The Grand Master knowingly lied to his king which certainly indicates that fealty to Grand Lodge (at least at the end of the 18th century) trips fealty to the crown. I merely point this out to say that Ludendorff’s suspicions were not entirely off the wall.

    • Eli Goldsmith

      There was Freemasonry in America – The Colonies – during the American Revolution; there were Lodges in America. For example, Washington was sworn in as a member at age 21. Nine signers of the Constitution were Freemasons, as were 23 (??) who signed the Declaration of Independence. Samuel Adams, George Mason, Paul Revere, among many, many others were Freemasons. Moreover, Freemasons, especially of senior rank, were afforded privileges and a “special respect” when taken prisoner. This occurred with both the Continental troops and the English troops.