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The Saxon Grand Lodges after 1918

Research field:Dictatorship Research
Research focus: Rule and Society (Project completed)
Coordination:  Franziska Böhl


In her dissertation on The Saxon Grand Lodges in after 1918:the Grand Lodge of Saxony and the Grand Lodge of the 'German Chain of Brotherhood' in the Weimar Republic, the National Socialist Period and the GDR Period, supervised by Prof. Dr. Günther Heydemann, Ms. Franziska Böhl pursues the history of Freemasonry. This classic civic association upholding humanitarian ideals, social responsibility and charitable care underwent severe upheavals during the 20th century: banned by the National Socialists in 1935, the organisation was also not tolerated in the GDR. Ms. Böhl authored the first comprehensive regional study with local historical examples and biographies of members. Following a general introduction to the subject, the first main part considers the attacks by the nationalist and Nazi movements during the Weimar Republic and the various defence strategies of the Saxon Freemasons. The second main part deals with the Nazi era and points out the attitude of the rulers towards the Lodges, the continuing attacks against the Association and the various forms of adaptation by the Freemasons, usually involving a transformation into so-called Christian Orders accompanied by the official disassociation from Freemasonry. After discussing the prohibition, the study treats the further undertaking by the National Socialists against Freemasonry and their attempt to integrate former Lodge members intoNazi society. The study concludes with a digression on the Saxon Freemasons in the Soviet Zone and the GDR. The dissertation is slated to be published in June 2018 by the SalierVerlag of Leipzig under the title Freimaurerei und Diktatur.Die sächsischenGroßlogennach 1918 [Freemasonry and Dictatorship. The Saxon Grand Lodges after 1918].QuatuorCoronatiJahrbuch für Freimaurerforschung, no. 54/2017 (article by Ms. Böhl on ‘The Survival of the Saxon Grand Lodges in the 20th Century’, with a link to the book) and the TV documentary on ‘Freemasons in the GDR’ (ZDF Info, Mediathek) provide insights into the subject.