Freemasons are fraternal organizations that trace their beginnings all the way back to the fraternities of stonemasons in the 14th century. It the world’s oldest and largest fraternity and many of the greatest men in history were members. It is a group that has been called secretive and some suggest that it controls world governments behind the scenes.
However, discussions of religion or politics are not allowed during Lodge meetings. The group focuses more on brotherhood and service to their country and their community. In fact, Freemasons donate $2 million to charity every day. But despite the lack of political or religious basis for the Freemasons, they still found themselves persecuted as political prisoners by the Nazis during World War II.
In 1927, The Destruction of Freemasonry Through the Exposure of Its Secrets Was Published
Erich Ludendorff was a former chief of the German Army’s General Staff during WWI. Following the end of the war he put more of his effort into politics and was an outspoken critic of the Freemasons. He often openly attacked Masonic Lodges with his words and his writings, including his 1927 publication The Destruction of Freemasonry Through the Exposure of Its Secrets.
In the book, Erich Ludendorff claimed to have the insider knowledge of all the rituals, practices and true beliefs of the Freemasons. However, what he did was distort what he knew of the Masonic lodges in order to push the growing propaganda against the Freemasons. He made up false rituals and distorted the true rituals of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Germany to instill fear and hatred. He also wrote about “training” that Freemasons went through in order to become what he called artificial Jews.
The publication by Ludendorff was largely based upon other anti-masonic writings that came out during the 19th century. The book was recognized as poorly researched and poorly written. Ludendorff had to use his own publishing house and then his publications were only sold in Ludendorff book stores before regular bookstores would boycott them. Some of the reviews of the book said that it seemed that Ludendorff was mentally ill. Another review recognized that the book was a gathering of nonsense and prejudices.
The despicable piece was the first thing that made all the Masonic lodges in Germany agree with each other. Prior to the publication lodges in Germany had been split between what were known as Humanitarian Lodges and Old Prussian Lodges. However, all of the Grand Masters came together on September 15, 1927 in order to reject the depiction of Freemasonry in Ludendorff’s publication. The Grand Masters called it an “indictment against the German nation” and “misleading the masses.” This would be the only time that the Grand Masters would unite against an accusation by the Nazis. Despite all the backlash to the publication, many of Ludendorff’s ideas would become part of the anti-masonic campaign of the Nazis.