Below are a select number of sites to do with the Holocaust. Please not that the Grand Lodge of Scotland provides these links as a courtesy only an has no control over the contents of such. Please be aware that some site may contain explicit and distressing images.
A large searchable site on all aspects of the Holocaust. There are limited references to Freemasonry.
The United Kingdom government's web site dedicated to Holocaust Memorial Day. There are no references to Freemasonry.
A large searchable web site with a great deal of information regarding the Holocaust. It holds a significant amount of material relating the persecution of Freemasons during World War II.
A large site concentrating on education and research. There is a considerable amount of eyewitness testimony. It is not searchable.
A document based site which is searchable and which produced several references to Freemasonry.
A chronological account of the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945 and beyond.
A major source of documents over four centuries. Includes transcipts of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials with lots of references to Freemasonry. Also contains all the Human Rights legislation since 1856. Searchable but a wee bitty idiosyncratic.
The free on-line encyclopaedia Wikipedia has an excellent article about Holocaust Memorial Day with lots of links.
These are the main sites we have examined regarding the Holocaust. If know of any other Holocaust related sites, especially any which refer to Freemasonry please e-mail the webmaster with details. Thank you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Why was the 27th January chosen as Holocaust Memorial Day?
- That day, 27th January, is the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland). This camp of death symbolises for many of the horrors of the Holocaust.
- Following the Stockholm Forum on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research in 2000 this day was chosen by the Governments of a number of other European countries to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, including Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Estonia.
- The 27th January is therefore the European Day against Genocide.
Why have a memorial Day?
The Aims of Holocaust Memorial Day are to:
- Remember all victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution – Jews, Freemasons, Roma and Sinti [Gypsies], East European civilians, Russian prisoners of war, trade unionists, Communists, political opponents, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men and lesbians and Black Germans.
- To provide a focus for everyone to consider the consequences of modern day atrocities such as those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.
- To provide the basis for the education of all about the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of discrimination.
These aims are set out in more detail in the Holocaust Memorial Day Statement of Purpose which you can read by clicking here.
How did the Holocaust Memorial Day established come to be established?
The “Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research” was created, in May 1998, by the Swedish, UK and US Governments and were later joined by Germany, Israel, Poland, the Netherlands, France and Italy.
That year a Conference about Holocaust-Era Assets was held in Washington D.C. in December 1998 and Task Force members issued a joint declaration stating, inter alia, that:
“Holocaust education, remembrance and research strengthen humanity’s ability to absorb and learn from the dark lessons of the past, so that we can ensure that similar horrors are never again repeated.”
That declaration further stated:
“we are committing our countries to encourage parents, teachers, and civic, political and religious leaders to undertake with renewed vigour and attention Holocaust education, remembrance and research, with a special focus on our own countries’ history.”
The following year, on the 10th June 1999, in answer to a parliamentary question from Andrew Dismore MP, the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP, said:
“I am determined to ensure that the horrendous crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust are ever forgotten. The ethnic cleansing and killing that have taken place in Europe in recent weeks are a stark example of the need for vigilance.”
The Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Education and Employment (now the Dept. of Education and Skills), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the London Borough of Barnet together with a number of organisations and associations concerned with education and remembrance of the Holocaust, brought forward suggestions for more wide ranging consultation on the subject of Holocaust remembrance.
A major consultation exercise commenced in 1999 and 1,000 organisations and individuals were invited to comment on proposals for Holocaust Memorial Day. The feed back was positive and helped form the pattern that Holocaust Memorial Day would take. Unfortunately, representatives of Masonic organisations were not consulted but it is quite likely that this was due to the fact that very few people in the United Kingdom were aware the Freemasons had also suffered during the Holocaust.
It was announced by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable, Mr Tony Blair, in January 2000, that the 27th January would henceforth be known as Holocaust Memorial Day and on 27 January 2001 the UK held its first Holocaust Memorial Day. Since then, a different part of the UK has hosted the Holocaust Memorial Day National Event each year – in 2004, Northern Ireland and in particular Belfast will follow in the footsteps of London, Manchester and Edinburgh. In addition, hundreds of events and activities have been held each year across the country to mark the Day and we are hoping to build upon this in 2004.
Holocaust Memorial Day is just about the Jews isn't?
Not at all. The Holocaust ought to be remembered by everyone. Whilst the Jewish people form the largest single identifiable group who suffered other groups were also persecuted by the Nazis e.g. Freemasons, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), East European civilians, prisoners of war (including a huge number of Poles and Russians), trade unionists, Communists, political opponents, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men and lesbians and Black Germans.
The lessons of tragic history ought to be remembered and learned from and the lessons of the Holocaust are of global significance and have implications for all of humankind. Holocaust Memorial Day is intended to allow people in the UK to focus, reflect, discuss and remember how those terrible events have relevance today for all without minimising the Jewish aspect of Holocaust remembrance. The goal of Holocaust Memorial Day is keep in view the constant need for vigilance and to ensure that society as a whole (whether as individuals or as groups within it) never forget the degrading treatment meted out to a millions of our fellow human beings. The lessons of the Holocaust are applicable to everyone whether in Europe or elsewhere in the world.
(Please note: Holocaust Memorial Day is distinct from Yom HaShoah, the Jewish day of remembrance for the Jewish victims of the Nazis).
What has Holocaust Memorial Day to do with Freemasons?
The answer is that many Freemasons suffered the same horrible fate as other groups yet they alone are almost entirely forgotten. Other web sites, even ones containing official researched and sponsorship, contain no reference to Freemasonry as a group selected for 'special treatment' by the Nazis. This part of the Grand Lodge of Scotland web site is intended to ensure that, like all the other groups targeted by the Nazis, Freemasons and their sufferings are not forgotten.
Six million Jews died - how can the odd one or two Masons compare with that?
No one denies that the majority of those who suffered during the Holocaust were the Jews (because of their religion) and the Poles (because of their nationality) but the United Kingdom Government in establishing Holocaust Memorial Day did so to recognise all groups who were targets of the Nazi regime.
Whilst there is annecdotal evidence that Freemasons were tortured and executed simply because they were Freemasons they were a small percentage of the total German population. Conservative estimates calculate that at least 80,000 Freemasons died. It is impossible to arrive at a total figure as no one knows the number of Freemasons from occupied countries who were murdered. The figure of 80,000 is therefore a 'guestimate' for the total figure across occupied Europe.
Does Holocaust Memorial Day mark, for example, the Rwandan genocide?
No. Holocaust Memorial Day is essentially about World War Two and is not intended to specifically inform or reflect upon the genocide in Rwanda partly because it would compete with Rwanda Genocide Memorial Day, which will commemorate the actual tenth anniversary on 7th April 2004.
Who is responsible for delivering Holocaust Memorial Day?
(Please note that from February 2005 the UK government divested itself of responsibility for Holocaust Memorial Day and the duties previously undertaken by the Home Office have been transferred to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. In the interests of providing a comprehensive account of the events leading to the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day the details relating arrangements prior to February 2005 have been left in place.)
Were can I learn more?
There are a considerable number of web sites which contain further information. The links page has details of these.
Holocaust Memorial Day
Annually: 27th January
We condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism.
We value a free, tolerant, and democratic society
(From: the United Nations Statement of Commitment)
On Thursday, 27th January 2000, representatives of forty-four countries attended a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, of the Stockholm Forum on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. This inter-governmental conference was convened by the Swedish Government to give support for education and research in an attempt to better equip governments to combat racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance as they manifest themselves in modern-day society. At the conclusion of the conference the heads of delegations unanimously agreed to sign the Declaration of the Stockholm Forum (PDF KB). As part of Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day, the principles of the Declaration were adopted and adapted into the 'Statement of Commitment', as a benchmark for understanding the aims and objectives of Holocaust Memorial Day.
In 2000 the United Kingdom Government decided that a special day ought to be set aside to commemorate those who suffered and died during the Holocaust of World War Two (1939-1945). In so going the government was acknowledging that particular groups of people were subject to 'special treatment' - a euphemism for systematic arrest, torture, starvation and death by a variety of means.
Whilst it is common knowledge that during WWII particular groups were marked out for 'special treatment' by Hitler's regime it is almost unknown that Freemasons also came into that category. These pages are therefore:
Dedicated to all those Freemasons who lost their lives either as part of the genocide, enemy action, deprivation or other consequences of
World War II.
Whilst the particular focus here is on the Masonic victims of the Nazis, and to a lesser extent the Japanese, Freemasons also recognise that the tragic lessons of history have not been learnt and recent events in Bosnia and Rwanda, to name but two, can only serve to remind us that Man's inhumanity to Man seems doomed to be repeated unless we can re-educate each new generation. This web site is a small part in that never ending education process.
Few people are aware that Freemasons suffered at the hands of the Nazis following Hitler's rise to power in 1933. This is probably because numerically Freemasons were a much smaller group than any of the others which also suffered.
As early as 1924 in his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler made it clear that as far as he was concerned Freemasons and Jews were responsible for the condition of post-war Germany. This section from Mien Kampf outlines his thoughts .
Essentially, Hitler's argument was that Freemasons and Jews had colluded in taking over Germany and had brought the country to its knees - politically, culturally and economically. History tells, if we are prepared to listen and learn, that there is nothing new under the sun. Hitler's belief that the Jews and Freemasons were responsible for all the ills of Germany after the end of the First World War led him to believe that by eliminating them Germany's problems would be resolved.
A few may be aware of the persecution of Freemasons by Hitler, but very few know that they were also hunted down and executed by Franco (Spain), Stalin (USSR) and Mussolini (Italy). When one is aware that Freemasons were also executed, and their property stolen, in countries invaded and occupied by the Nazis (e.g. Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Greece, Austria, Romania, etc.) then one begins to wonder exactly what was the total death toll of Freemasons.
It is not possible to now determine how many Freemasons were executed just because they were Freemasons, but a conservative estimate has suggested that the number of German Freemasons who died in concentration camps numbered 80,000. Another estimate has suggested 200,000 as a total but this must be an estimate of the total put to death in all occupied countries not just in Germany for it is known that there were not that number of Freemasons in Germany in 1933 when Hitler came to power.
Extract from Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler
First Published 1925.
Volume One - A Reckoning
Chapter XI: Nation and Race
To strengthen his [the Jews] political position he tries to tear down the racial and civil barriers which for a time continue to restrain him at every step. To this end he fights with all the tenacity innate in him for religious tolerance - and in Freemasonry, which has succumbed to him completely, he has an excellent instrument with which to fight for his aims and put them across. The governing circles and the higher strata of the political and economic bourgeoisie are brought into his nets by the strings of Freemasonry, and never need to suspect what is happening.
Only the deeper and broader strata of the people as such, or rather that class which is beginning to wake up and fight for its rights and freedom, cannot yet be sufficiently taken in by these methods. But this is more necessary than anything else; for the Jew feels that the possibility of his rising to a dominant role exists only if there is someone ahead of him to dear the way; and this someone he thinks he can recognize in the bourgeoisie, in their broadest strata in fact. The glovemakers and linen weavers, however, cannot be caught in the fine net of Freemasonry; no, for them coarser but no less drastic means must be employed. Thus Freemasonry is joined by a second weapon in the service of the Jews: the press. With all his perseverance and dexterity he seizes possession of it. With it he slowly begins to grip and ensnare, to guide and to push all public life, since he is in a position to create and direct that power which, under the name of 'public opinion,' is better known today than a few decades ago.
The general pacifistic paralysis of the national instinct of self preservation begun by Freemasonry in the circles of the so-called intelligentsia is transmitted to the broad masses and above all to the bourgeoisie by the activity of the big papers which today are always Jewish. Added to these two weapons of disintegration comes a third and by far the most terrible, the organization of brute force. As a shock and storm troop, Marxism is intended to finish off what the preparatory softening up with the first two weapons has made ripe for collapse.
From this it can be see that Hitler, and his adherents, considered the Jew and Freemasons to be one in the same. The reality was that whilst some Jews were Freemasons they were a minority within the Fraternity. However, in the eyes of the Nazis being a Freemason was as 'bad' as being a Jew and therefore the Gestapo treated Freemasons no differently from their Jewish victims. Indeed frequently the words Jew and Freemason are used interchangeably throughout Nazi writing.
Elsewhere on this site we shall provide more information regarding documents relating to the persecution of Freemasons during the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was not limited to one country and it was not only in Hitler's Germany that Freemasons were hunted down and executed. The genocide of target groups occurred in occupied countries and also in Spain. Time permitting it is hoped that documents about the experiences of Freemasons outwith Germany will also be made available here.