FREEMASONRY: WW2 in Occupied Europe
FREEMASONRY: WW2 in Occupied Europe
The Red Triangle: Persecution of Freemasons in Occupied Europe during WW2.

World War II was a time of immense upheaval and conflict, affecting nations and individuals on a global scale.

Amidst this chaos, Freemasonry, an age-old fraternal organization, faced significant challenges and persecution during the run-up to the war, as well as under the rule of the Soviet and Nazi regimes in occupied countries.

This article explores the actions taken by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in relation to Freemasonry during this tumultuous period and examines the impact on the fraternity and its members.

Pre-War Tensions and Suppression

In the years leading up to World War II, political tensions were rising in Europe, and Freemasonry found itself caught in the crossfire.

Both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany viewed Freemasonry as a threat to their ideological agendas and sought to suppress the fraternity’s influence.

In the Soviet Union, Freemasonry was officially banned in 1922 as part of the government’s campaign against “bourgeois” organizations. Masonic lodges were closed down, and members were persecuted, often facing arrest, imprisonment, or execution. This wave of suppression was aimed at eradicating any perceived opposition to the Soviet regime.

Nazi Germany’s Anti-Masonic Propaganda and Suppression

The Nazi regime in Germany harbored a strong anti-Masonic sentiment. Adolf Hitler and his followers propagated conspiracy theories that accused Freemasonry of being part of an international Jewish plot to control the world. This led to a widespread demonization of Freemasons and their perceived influence in society.

Under Nazi rule, Freemasonry faced severe persecution. Masonic lodges were closed, their assets confiscated, and members were targeted for arrest, imprisonment, or execution.

The notorious Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) compiled lists of Freemasons, resulting in the internment of thousands in concentration camps. The infamous red or yellow triangles, marking political prisoners, often included a square and compass, the iconic symbol of Freemasonry.

Occupied Countries: Soviet and Nazi Actions

As Nazi Germany expanded its territories and occupied numerous countries throughout Europe, Freemasonry faced repression in those regions. Occupied countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway witnessed the suppression of Masonic lodges and the persecution of Freemasons.

In the Soviet-occupied territories of Eastern Europe, Freemasonry was met with similar hostility. Masonic lodges were closed, and members were subjected to arrests, imprisonment, and execution. The Soviet regime aimed to eradicate any organization or group that could potentially challenge its authority or espouse values contrary to communism.

Resistance and Resurgence

Despite the immense challenges and persecution, Freemasonry managed to resist and even flourish in some instances. In occupied countries, secret Masonic networks and resistance movements emerged, allowing members to support each other and engage in covert activities against the occupying forces.

These networks provided assistance to individuals at risk and served as a means of communication and support during a time of great uncertainty.

After the war, Freemasonry experienced a resurgence, as surviving members sought to rebuild their lodges and reinstate the values of brotherhood, tolerance, and personal growth. Throughout the following decades, the fraternity sought to promote peace, understanding, and philanthropy, reflecting its core principles that had withstood the trials of World War II.


The period leading up to and during World War II was marked by the persecution of Freemasonry under both the Soviet and Nazi regimes. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany viewed Freemasonry as a threat to their respective ideologies and took actions to suppress and eliminate the fraternity.

However, Freemasonry demonstrated resilience and resistance, with secret networks and resistance movements offering support to members during the occupation. Following the war,

Freemasonry experienced a resurgence, rebuilding its lodges and continuing its mission of promoting charity and self-Improvement as well as the building of a Just Society.