Freemasons Still Held Lodge Meetings in Concentration Camps
Freemasons that were sent to concentration camps were labeled as political prisoners, which meant that their uniforms were marked with a red triangle. This red triangle allowed them to recognize each other especially when coupled with the knowledge of the Forget-me-not. During German suppression of Freemasonry, the Freemasons abandoned their traditional symbols and adopted the forget-me-not flower. A man wearing a forget-me-not pin would be recognized as a Mason by fellow members but would not be noticed by the SD. This was likewise with presenting one of the flowers.
Once Freemasons in concentration camps discovered each other they tried to use the spirit of brotherhood that had uplifted them outside the camp walls to help them in their darkest time. Some Freemasons even went as far as to create their own lodges within their concentration camps. Loge Liberté Chérie (Cherished Liberty Lodge) was one such lodge.
Liberté Chérie was founded on November 15, 1943 by seven Bulgarian Freemasons and a resistance fighters. The Lodge was formed inside Hut 6 of Emslandlager VII. The men would meet for lodge work inside the hut around a table that would otherwise be used for sorting cartridges. A Catholic priest would stand outside the door in order to allow the brothers to hold their meetings and protect their secrecy.
Paul Hanson was elected master of the lodge and Brother Fernand Erauw was initiated, passed and raised by the lodge. The Hut held more than 100 prisoners who were only allowed to leave for one half-hour supervised walk per day. The rest of the time half the camp had to sort parts on the table and the other half were forced to work in the peat bogs. All of the members of the lodge, with the exception of 2, would lose their lives over the course of the war. A memorial was raised by Belgian and German Freemasons in 2004 in the Cemetery of Esterwegen.