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.