The Forget-Me-Not and Anti-Freemasonry in Nazi Germany
The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne in 1926, as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen, Germany.
In 1938, a forget-me-not badge, made by the same factory as the Masonic badge, was chosen for the Nazi Party’s Winterhilfswerk, the annual charity drive of the National Socialist People’s Welfare (the welfare branch of the Nazi party).
This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of membership.
After World War II, the forget-me-not flower was used again as a Masonic emblem in 1948 at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 1948.
The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all who suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.
Most Freemasons, and Freemasonry as a whole, are particularly mindful of our heritage.
Both the most experienced Master Mason and the newest Entered Apprentice can appreciate the lessons and knowledge available to us through careful study.
Our reverence for the wisdom of the liberal arts and sciences provides us with a unique perspective on the architectural foundations and columns of the built world, as well as a healthy respect for mathematical numbers and letters.
In addition, we see, as others do not, the internal beauty of the natural world, from the grandeur of the sun, stars, and moon, to the sacred and solemn symbolism of the most modest acacia plant.
To be a Mason is to be in possession of a special gift, to always be in search of meaning, present or hidden, in the world around us.
The “forget-me-not,” is the informal name of the Myosotis flower, generally known for being small, with 5 blue or purple petals.
Historically, it holds a place in the poetry of Wadsworth and Thoreau, medieval German legends, Christian hagiography, and English political history.
For Freemasons, the forget-me-not is a symbol that reminds us of resilience and resistance, and of love for the Fraternity and its principles, even under distress and persecution.
From its inception in 1933, Nazi Germany placed a strong emphasis on propaganda and achieving a positive public perception of its ideological goals.
This included legal, political, and civic restrictions against opponents of the regime, and those who were victims of its rigid racial and social ideology.
Along with Jews, homosexuals, those living with physical and mental handicaps, Catholics, and Jehovah’s Witnesses – Freemasons were targeted for criminal prosecution and exclusion from society.
This was achieved in a number of ways. The Enabling Act of 1933 allowed for a governmental decree the following year that officially dissolved all Masonic Lodges within the Third Reich, confiscated their property, and formally barred those associated with Freemasonry from membership in the Nazi Party.
In 1934-5, the Ministry of Defense ruled that soldiers, officers, and civilian personnel could not be members of Masonic organizations, and Hitler declared a victory over “international Jewry” in which he linked antisemitism to conspiracy theories about Freemasonry.
Freemasons were considered political prisoners within the German concentration camp system, and thus forced to wear the inverted red triangle badge.
The head of the SD, the intelligence branch of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, labeled Masons as “most implacable enemies of the German race.”
He later demanded that Germany “root out from every German the indirect influence of the Jewish spirit” — “a Jewish, liberal, and Masonic infectious residue that remains in the unconscious of many, above all in the academic and intellectual world.”
The SS featured two separate offices dedicated to pursuing Masonic properties and Freemasons, a process that would continue into the war and into countries under direct or indirect German control.
Vichy France declared Freemasons ‘enemies of the state’ and in Fascist Italy, Mussolini spoke out against Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic conspiracies.
Anti-Freemasonry took many forms under the Nazis, both individual and collective, and in official and informal capacities.
The most popular charges were conspiratorial and antisemitic. That is, Freemasonry was linked to a variety of Nazi enemies – Communism, the international press, and Jews.
This was done in Party newspapers and literature, in political speeches, and through indoctrination events such as museum exhibitions.
For example, mock lodge displays were set up featuring skeletons in Masonic regalia alongside Jewish symbols or imposing the square and compass over or alongside a six-pointed Star of David.
Portraits of prominent Freemasons were displayed alongside a Torah scroll, and posters featuring the site of European radical political revolutions featured a Masonic apron.
Free association between and among Masons under Nazi control was dangerous.
There were Brothers, however, who were determined not to give up their identity as Freemasons, even under these most difficult of circumstances.
For example, at the concentration and later prison camp at Esterwegen, Belgian political prisoners formed the Loge Liberté chérie (Beloved Liberty Lodge) and conducted meetings and ritual in secret from 1943-1944.
In 1926, the Grand Lodge of Germany held its annual meeting in Bremen in northern Germany.
It adopted a blue forget-me-not badge as its emblem, which was produced by a local factory.
By coincidence, the same facility was called upon to produce a blue forget-me-not lapel pin in 1938 by the National Socialist People’s Welfare Organization, to commemorate its Winterhilfswerk, or winter charitable contribution drive.
The pin was a gift to donors. Thus, the blue forget-me-not, ostensibly a symbol of Nazi social policy, became a symbol of Freemasonry – a clandestine badge of membership.
Article by Worshipful Brother Alex Lehning of Washington Lodge No. 3 in Williston, Vermont, and reproduced by kind permission of Masonry Today.
Recent Articles: symbolism
Mackey's 25 Masonic Landmarks
"The first great duty, not only of every lodge, but of every Mason, is to see that the landmarks of the Order shall never be impaired." — Albert Mackey (1856)
Salt, Wine, and Oil
It is common knowledge that the ancient wages of a Fellowcraft Mason consisted of corn, wine, and oil. Many however, object to this assertion. How can corn be associated with these ancient wages when—clearly—corn was first discovered in the New World? Discover how 'corn' may in fact be 'salt'!
How Holy is Holy Ground?
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5
The Book of Law in Brazilian Freemasonry
We are informed that, Freemasonry it is not a religion, but the candidate has a belief in a creative principle, which later, we call the Great Architect of the Universe. - by Fernando Rodrigues de Souza
Due or Ample Form?
Due or Ample Form? What is ‘Ample’ form, when in lodges the term ‘Due’ form is used?
Mason's Marks – from Egypt to Europe?
Mason's marks have been a source of intrigue, not only to Freemasons but to historians and archaeologists. The use of simple pictograms have been employed for millennia by artisans to identify their work. But where did they originate and why?
Eight Schools of Freemasonry - Introduction
Follow this series as examine the 'Eight Schools of Freemasonry' that have developed over the centuries since its founding in 1717. This month we outline the series and the Masonic Conception of Education.
The Secret Language of the Stone Masons
We know of Masons' Marks but lesser known are the 'argots' used by the artisans - in part 2 of a series on the social history of the Operative Masons we learn how the use of secret languages added to the mystery of the Guilds.
So mote it be
The phrase appears in the Regius Poem. It is customary in contemporary English to end prayers with a hearty “Amen,” a word meaning “So be it.” It is a Latin word derived from the Hebrew word - Short Talk Bulletin - Vol. V June, 1927, No.6
Egypt's 'Place of Truth' - The First Operative Stone Masons' Guild?
Was ancient Egypt's 'village of the artisans' the first operative stone masons' guild? And was their use of 'identity marks' a forerunner of the Mason's Marks of the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages? Read on for some possible answers…
The Pieces of Architecture and the Origin of Masonic Study
Discover the journey of the Apprentice – from Operative to Speculative. This journey has been carried out since the times of operative Freemasonry but today the initiate works in the construction of his inner temple.
The Builders' Rites - laying the foundations operatively and speculatively
The cornerstone (also ‘foundation’ or ‘setting’ stone) is the first stone to be set in the construction of the foundations of a building; every other stone is set in reference to this.
If Found on the Level
Applying the working tools to achieve our peculiar system of morality.
Euclid's 47th Proposition
We take an in-depth look at the 47th Proposition of the 1st Book of Euclid as part of the jewel of the Past Master.
The Cable Tow Unbound
The Cable Tow: Its Origins, Symbolism, & Significance for Freemasons - Unbinding the significance of the cable tow.
Who was Tubal-cain?
Who was Tubal-cain, a biblical figure; a smith, and master of metallurgy?
The Great Journey
We examine at one of the most impressive moments of the initiatory ceremony, a certain rite known as Circumambulation, and ask what is its meaning and purpose ?
On the Level
So, what is the Level? And why do we use it in Freemasonry?
The Pigpen Cipher
What is the mysterious pigpen or Masonic cipher that has been used for centuries to hide secrets and rituals?
The Story of the Royal Arch - The Mark Degree
Extracted from William Harvey's 'The Story of the Royal Arch' - Part 1 describes the Mark Degree, including the Working Tools.
Ashlars - Rough, Smooth - Story of a Stone
How we can apply the rough and smooth Ashlars with-in a masonic context
The Chamber of Reflection
A detailed look at the Chamber of Reflection: A Revitalized and Misunderstood Masonic Practice.
Faith, Hope & Charity
Exploring the origin and symbolism of Faith, Hope and Charity
The Noachite Legend and the Craft
What is it to be a true Noachidae, and what is the Noachite Legend and the Craft ?
In Masonic rituals, Jacob’s ladder is understood as a stairway, a passage from this world to the Heavens.
Meaning of the Acacia
What is the meaning of the Acacia and where did it originate ?
The Feasts of St John
What is the connection with the Feasts of St John and Freemasonry
Forget Me Not
The Forget-Me-Not and the Poppy - two symbols to remind us to 'never forget' those who died during the two World Wars.
The Two Pillars
Biblical history surrounding the two pillars that stood at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple
Judaism and Freemasonry
Is there a direct link between Judaism and Freemasonry?
The symbolism of the beehive in Masonry and its association with omphalos stones and the sacred feminine.
Corn Wine Oil
The Wages of an Entered Apprentice
The North East Corner
An explanation of the North East corner charge which explores beyond one meaning Charity - Extracted from William Harvey – the Complete Works
The Two Headed Eagle
Origins of The Two Headed Eagle, now associated with The Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite
A Masonic Interpretation
A Masonic Interpretation of the Quran's First Two Chapters
Audi Vide Tace
The three Latin words -a good moto for the wise freemason
to be a better citizen of the world
share the square with two brothers
click image to open email app on mobile device