The Story of the Jewish‐Masonic Conspiracy, 1776‐1945

Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein


In January 1937 Heinrich Himmler gave a lecture on the “Nature and Purpose of the SS and the Police” in which he declared that “we must be aware that the opponent in a war is not only an opponent in the military sense of the word. What I mean here by an opponent is, of course, our natural opponent in the form of international Bolshevism run by the Jews and Freemasons”1 Two years later, on 25 February 1939, Josef Goebbels, in an article in the Volkischer Beobachter, attacked “the circles of international Jewry, international Freemasonry and international Marxism” for pulling the strings behind the extensive campaign against a peace-loving Germany.

The present article attempts to analyse the origin and political role of this conspiracy theory as utilised by leading National Socialists, a theory which manifested itself in General Franco’s officially recorded comments shortly before his death and in the Archbishop Lefèbre affair, indicating that it still has a following.


The ideological background to the origin of the theory as well as its application as a weapon of propaganda is the struggle waged against the Enlightenment and the French Revolution by the forces of political and religious orthodoxy, for enlightened belief in Reason and Humanitarianism, as well as the principle of Tolerance, appeared to question, indirectly or even directly, the supremacy of State and Church, a tradition handed down from the Middle Ages, based on religion and characterised by denominational and social barriers.

Since various European absolute rulers seemed to adapt, however superficially, an enlightened philosophy, the representatives of ecclesiastical orthodoxy could hardly help regarding the ideas of the enlightenment as destructive. They were bound to feel concern when those rulers obviously ceased to be impressed by the sacral authority on which their government was supposed to rest, and while pointedly abandoning the symbiosis of Thron und Altar, began to incline more towards a purposeful utilitarianism, i.e., in modern terminology, the principle of individual proven ability. After the principles of enlightenment had been politically formulated in the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, it became clear, even before the French Revolution, that, albeit ideologically and potentially rather than politically and immediately, a threat had been posed to the Ancien Régime. This threat to the traditional social order seemed to be presented principally in the so-called “secret societies”2

The tremendous importance which was generally attached in the late 18th Century to the mostly apolitical and harmlessly convivial “secret societies” is explained by the fact that they were voluntary associations of like-minded people, and that among the educated upper and middle classes, all and sundry belonged to them. Within a society still characterised by barriers of religion and class, such free associations were something completely new. For the absolutist state, because of its aristocratic nature, could of course grant no right based on freedom of association. It could tolerate secret societies only as long as they did not engage in political or other undesirable activities. The adjective “secret” in this context does not mean that a particular society was secret in the modern sense of the word. The meaning simply is “not pertaining to the state” or “private”.


As a private and discreet society, Freemasonry was “the strongest social institution of the moral world in the 18th Century”.3 Within this institution was manifested the "spirit of freedom" which, according to Kant, motivated all secret societies.4 A Viennese masonic publication of 1786 states: "Freemasonry . . . unites people of all nations, religions and classes: the Mexican, the Siberian, the German and the Japanese, the Christian and the Moslem, and the Jew, the Minister, the Capuchin monk and the field marshall; all embrace one another in the Lodge: the opinions of sects are mutually tolerated.”5

Having been founded in protestant England, freemasonry naturally very soon aroused the suspicion of the Catholic Church. Suspected of deism if not accused of atheism, it was condemned in 1738 by a Papal Bull basically still valid today though modified and considerably watered down in 1974.6 The ban was supported by political arguments, especially the supposed threat to the security of the State.

After Abbé Gaultier in 1746 had charged the freemasons with organising all sects under the banner of natural religion and of forming a conspiration générale contre la religion,7 Abbé Larudan in 1747 published in Amsterdam a pamphlet entitled Les francs-maçons écrasés, accusing the freemasons of making “total freedom and equality, freeing us from every kind of authority, universally popular and respectable”.8 Cromwell is said political and moral pestilence”.14 to have founded freemasonry in order to “improve the condition of humanity and to exterminate kings and the nobility, whose scourge he was”.9

While these two writers were politically orientated, two others presented the Conspiracy Theory in a Christian frame of reference. Joseph Torrubia, a Spanish Dominican and member of the Inquisition, in 1752 warns: “The Catholic is here (in the Lodge) made to appear as the brother of the Lutheran, the Calvinist, the follower of Zwingli, the Schismatics and, who knows, perhaps of the Mohammedan and the Jew”.10 When the progress of Enlightenment expressed itself in a vast expansion of freemasonry, aggravating the fears of Christian Orthodoxy, the Aachen Dominican Greinemann in 1778 attacked the freemasons from the pulpit as follows: “The Jews who crucified the Saviour were freemasons; Pilate and Herod were Masters of Lodges; Judas, before betraying Jesus, went to a lodge and became a mason”.11 As well as taking his place in the tradition of Christian antisemitism, Greinemann was the first to bring the Jews and freemasons together in a conspiratorial context. His preaching of anti-Jewish as well as anti-masonic hatred produced pogrom-type outrages against freemasons among the citizens of Aachen.


The early history of the conspiracy theory is closely connected with the radical and enlightened Order of the Illuminati founded in 1776 in Bavaria and banned by the Bavarian government in 1785.12 This Order was, in appearance, a type of masonic organisation. At the same time, it was a militant and thus unmasonic association modelled on the Jesuit Order. Within a short time it became so notorious that Orthodox Catholicism saw it in league with Satan. A flood of pamphlets began to decry “the system of a world citizens’ republic”, predicting “inevitable revolutions”13 and denouncing masonic lodges as “houses of political and moral pestilence”.14

Accordingly the storming of the Bastille could be made out to be the result of masonic and Illuminati intrigue. The Marquis de Luchet, active for many years at the Court of the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel, had already in 1789 acquainted the French (in his Essai sur la secte des Illuminés) wich the German conspiracy theory. After the swindler Cagliostro had been arrested in December 1789 by the Papal police, the anti-masonic and anti-Illuminati conspiracy theory was systematically disseminated by the Vatican and ecclesiastical anti-revolutionary circles. Rumours were launched, alleging Cagliostro had been the leader of the Illuminati which had been responsible for the storm on the Bastille.

Although the conspiracy theory was developed mainly in Germany, the two important synthesising statements of this theory were made not by Germans but by a Frenchman and a Scot in 1797.15 These were the Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du Jacobinisme written by Abbé Barruel, an ex-Jesuit living in exile in England (they were translated into nine different European languages), and a book of the Edinburgh Professor John Robison (also published in a number of editions and translated) entitled Proofs of a conspiracy against all the religions and governments of Europe, carried on in the secret meetings of freemasons, Illuminati and reading societies.


The Constitution of the Freemasons, the Alte Pflichten (“Ancient Duties”) of 1723, provided for the admission of Jews into masonic lodges.16 If Jews were, generally, not admitted to European lodges, with the exception of those in Holland and England, the reason was not so much any antisemitism among the masons but the fact that they had to take into account the extensive suspicion with which they were viewed by the authorities. This of course did not prevent enlightened individuals and freemasons from championing the emancipation of the Jews.

Discrimination against Jews by freemasons was not undisputed as is shown by the fact that in 1780 an “inofficial” lodge was formed which included Jews and Christians. The founder of this “Order of the Asiatic Brethren”17 was Hans Carl Ecker von Eckhofen who in 1788, in a pamphlet entitled Werden und Können Israeliten zu Freimaurern aufgenommen werden?, advocated the admission of Jews to lodges. Another lodge founded in Hamburg in 1792 stated categorically: “We make no religious distinctions. Turks, Jews and Christians are our brothers. We believe the that truth and wisdom are no factory-produced merchandise requiring a monopoly or a patent”.18

Apart from these two, the Frankfurt lodge Zur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, founded in 1807, had a special role to play in the counter-revolutionary propaganda up to the advent of Nazism. As its members were predominantly Jews it was often ridiculed as the “Jews’ lodge”. The antisemitism directed against them was no longer the traditionally Christian variety; it already allied itself with modern nationalism. Since this lodge was under the immediate jurisdiction of the Parisian Grand Orient lodge, it could be suspected of “treason” after Napoleon’s defeat. In an attempt to merge nationalism, anti-liberalism, hatred of foreigners and antisemitism under the umbrella of the Conspiracy Theory, the Frankfurt lodge was denounced as a part of French “politico-military espionage” in which an important part was played by “gamblers, prostitutes and Jews”.19 Moreover the exiled Napoleon is seen as the focal point of a conspiracy whose aim is “a complete world revolution”. In this impending revolution, freemasonry, infiltrated by Jews, was held to be important because many statesmen were already financially dependent upon the Jews.20 There was also a religious and apocalyptic side to the whole question. Because he had in 1806 convened the Sanhédrin of Jewish Elders, Church circles would accuse Napoleon of conducting an anti-Christian policy and of being a false Messiah.

In close connection with this policy, a letter which the Florentine Captain Simonini sent to Abbé Barruel in 1806 must be examined. In this, Simonini congratulated Barruel on his Mémoires, but criticised him for not having taken the Jews into account when exposing the conspirational sects, for the secte judaique represented a puissance la plus formidable. Together with other sects — Sophists, freemasons, Illuminati and Jacobins — the Jews were said to form a single force whose aim it was to obliterate Christianity. “Two Jews” were alleged to have founded freemasonry and the Order of Illuminati with the intention of breaking the economic power of the Christians and setting up a Jewish World Government.21

The background to such slander was the basic point that freemasonry, as an enlightened organisation, had contributed to the emancipation of the Jews while orthodox Christianity and political counter-revolutionaries accused the members of the Enlightenment movement and the revolutionaries of protecting Jews, and the Jews, being beneficiaries of the revolution, were seen as an instrument of the anti-Christian and revolutionary factions. A footnote to the German translation of the Barruel Memoirs therefore significantly refers, as early as 1800, to “the Jewishness of the Freemason” or the “Freemasonry of the Jews”.22


When prominent German Protestants accused the freemasons of denying the Saviour in order to “fraternise with Jews and Turks”,23 they were echoing the distinguished historian Heinrich Sybel who praised Christian conservatives for combatting the principle of equality; they (he wrote) “were in the front line of the attack against the principle of democracy”.24 Seen from such a viewpoint, liberal and democratic ideas could only lead to the “judaising of the Christian State” — the title in fact of an anonymous pamphlet published in Leipzig in 1865.

The Jesuit Pachtler, an important figure in the history of the conspiracy theory, said of the freemasons in 1876 that they offered “Christ-hating Jewry a veritable haven and a highly desirable base for their operations”.25 Already in 1872 a Roman Catholic journal was canvassing an undisguised antisemitic version of the conspiracy theory, alleging that “Judah forms the head of the Lodge, and the Christian lodges are, without being aware of it, the blind puppets manipulated by Jews”.26 German Jews clearly recognised this argument for what it was; “by attacking the Jews, they said, the clericals hope to strike at the entire modern state and every liberal trend within society”.27 The same applies to the anti-masonic agitation. The term “freemason” thus became an anti-modernist codeword designed to discredit any undesirable development, while the more religiously tinged generic term “heretical sect” became a label for Philosophers, Protestants, Jews, Physiocrats, Jacobins and Republicans, as well as freemasons. Characteristically, Barruel said this “sect introduced itself in America with the earliest foundations of the Codex of equality, freedom and sovereignty of the people”.28] The invocation of the sovereignty of the people was regarded in the same light as the rebellion of children against their heavenly Father.


In actual fact, the champions of the conspiracy theory were not only concerned with ideals, religious and constitutional politics. Not without reason the threat was seen to be directed against the propertied middle classes, as well as Throne and Altar. It is probably true that many propagators of the conspiracy theory, who were usually also anti-semites, consciously and deliberately used their political beliefs as means of achieving hidden political and material ends.

Parallel to the crisis-ridden historical development from absolutism to bourgeois and social democracy, the conspiracy theory steadily adapted itself to the political and socio-economic conditions which, in the age of industrialisation and imperialism were undergoing a process of rapid change. This aspect is illustrated here by a few facts and pointers only.29

The German state constitution of 1848/49 was said to “have been decreed by the close circle of the masonic brotherhood as the purest social democracy”.30 International Socialism was presented as, in the final analysis, a creation of freemasonry; the International Workers’ Union — “the most terrible political and religious conspiracy in the history of the world”31 — was supposed to have been organised on the principle of the lodge. In the mind of the Jesuit Pachtler, a symbiosis of freemasonry and liberalism definitely existed; according to him, “the principles of masonic humanitarianism lead directly to Socialism”.32 He also believed that Socialism, protected by judeo-masonic and liberal interests, was ultimately leading to “the sudden doom”33] both of its liberal foster-parent and of freemasonry too.

An important religious-ideological impetus was given to the conspiracy theory in the Syllabus Errorum published in 1864 by Pope Pius IX. Here, pantheism, interdenominational tolerance, rationalism, liberalism, socialism and freemasonry are strongly condemned.34 The most important manifestation of the new kind of conspiracy theory is the work of the French Jesuit Nicolas Deschamps, Les sociétés secrets ou la philosophie de l’histoire contemporaine, published between 1874 and 1876. This book which ran into many editions is linked directly to the Barruel Memoirs of which, incidentally, an Italian edition appeared in 1887 in Rome.

Edouard Drumont, in his book La France Juive (1885), not only called Jews the beneficiaries of the Revolution but also falsely described the founder of the quasi-masonic Order of Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, as having been Jewish!

In his book La Francmaçonnerie — Synagogue de Satan (Paris 1893) the French Archbishop Léon Meurin referred directly to Barruel. He also made much of the Frankfurt “Jewish Lodge” Zur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe and the letter of Simonini. Like Abbé Bertrand, who in 1901 published in Paris the pamphlet La Francmaçonnerie, Secte Juive, Meurin believed that he had revealed the secret of freemasonry in the guise of the Jews.

The anti-masonic encyclical Humanum Genus issued in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII proves that the above-mentioned authors were no black sheep of the Catholic Church. Here freemasons are once again put under the Papal ban and accused of working for the replacement of the Kingdom of God on earth by a Kingdom of Satan under their own control “to whose government all are subject who deny the law of obedience to the eternal God”.35

The traditionalist and middle-class viewpoint is expressed in anti-capitalist and anti-socialist slogans which can be found in the book by Mgr. Anselme Tilloy Le péril judéo- maçonnique (1897). In this book, which characteristically describes Cagliostro as Jewish, the purely political anti-capitalist argument is so prominent that despite all references to tradition, a modern Right-radical demagoguery predominates. Tilloy maintains, for example, that France is under the yoke of the judeo-masonic sect economically, politically and socially.36 On this ground a demand is made that Jews be subjected to legal discrimination which in turn is justified by reference to the medieval prohibition of property ownership by Jews. Tilloy also proposed to act against High Finance and Limited Companies, defining capitalism, allegedly controlled by Jews, as a system in which money and speculation take first place in the scale of values.37

Since the border line between traditionalist thinking and racial antisemitism is fluid, this socio-romantic argument offered, in practical terms, a blueprint for the later extreme Right-wing analysis of society. In 1894 a leading Catholic paper described “social democracy” as “a special department of the stock exchange and Jewry”38 and in 1920 the Nazi Party programme sees in “Marxism” a “capitalist illusion . . . Capitalism and Marxism are one and the same thing”.

Against the background of the campaign against freemasonry with all its highly successful insinuations including those drawn from the medieval Christian belief in witchcraft, the socio-political theory of a supposed judeo-masonic world conspiracy was liable to constitute an explosive instrument of war.

An important historic motive for the manufacture of the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion39 was the Zionist Congress held in Basle in 1897. According to the “Protocols”, which showed the influence of older antisemitic and antimasonic literature and were forged with the principal involvement of the Czarist Secret Police, the Basle Congress developed ancient dreams of Jewish world domination into a programme of political action. The Jews were to exploit, for their own purposes, freemasonry as well as liberalism, democracy and socialism, religions and states and so, in devilish fashion, bring about the downfall of all monarchies, in order to build on the ruins a Jewish World State.

During the Russian Revolution of 1905 the “Protocols” were spread with the active support of high-ranking ecclesiastical and political authorities, which shows that the conspiracy theory was the most extreme ideological weapon of the orthodox anti-liberal defenders of Throne and Altar. Historians unanimously agree that the radical supporters of Czarist autocracy already manifest “pre-fascist” characteristics. For instance, the first publisher of the “Protocols”, Kruszewan, who was connected with the Czarist court, played a sinister part in the instigation of the bloody pogrom of Kishinev.

These facts make at dear that representatives of autocratic states do not shrink from extreme radicalism in the face of threats to their political survival. Conservatives will then use as a life belt those conspiracy theories, developed as a reaction to enlightenment and French Revolution, which in politically quieter times they would have disdained, just as they would have despised the obscure characters canvassing them.


This procedure can also be demonstrated in the effects of the First World War upon Germany. As early as 1915 the war was being represented as the outcome of a masonic conspiracy. The hate of all freemasons was said to be directed against Germany and Austria because these countries constituted, in the eyes of the Lodge, the European “bulwark of monarchial thinking and guardians of the Christian faith”. 40

In 1917 the conspiracy theory was revived by a Jesuit writer maintaining that the masons took “a prominent part”41 in all revolutions since 1776 and that the watchword of the French Revolution “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” was a masonic one. The Entente, allegedly hand in glove with freemasonry, was said to be concerned with the “victory of the national democratic principle over theocratic autocracy, monarchist feudalism and military imperialism”.42

Similarly, in 1918 the pan-German president of the German Naval Union, Prince Otto von Salm-Horstmar, speaking in the Prussian Upper House, described the war as a conflict between “Jewish democracy” and “German aristocracy” or “Teutonic-German” Weltanschauung. Being very familiar with the history of the conspiracy theory, he believed that all revolutions in modern times had been stage-managed by freemasons. Indeed, freemasonry had always been an instrument of the Jews; Lenin and Trotsky were both not only Jews but also freemasons.43

Such misguided theories were also advanced during the war by the Germanen-Orden founded in 1912 and renamed in 1918 Thule Gesellschaft (“Thule Society”), which professed to be a kind of anti-masonic order.

Their programme contained this passage: “Our basic ideology separates us (i.e. German lodges) from freemasonry . . . We hate the word ‘equality’. Equality is death to us . . . We work for the benefit of our nation and in so doing are aware that we are doing much more for the progress of mankind than all the Lodges put together . . . We are no democrats . . . democracy is Jewish . . .we are aristocrats”.44

A swindler, Rudolf Glauer, who called himself by the more sonorous name of “Rudolf von Sebottendorf”, became at Christmas 1917 head of the Bavarian section of the “Germanen Order”. In 1918, he took over the paper Münchener Beobachter which, in 1919, began to appear under the name of Völkischer Beobachter and in 1920 fell into the hands cf the Nazi Party. Members of the Thule Gesellschaft which operated a radically Right-wing terrorist secret organisation in the revolution of 1918-19 were later prominent members of the Nazi Party, e.g. Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess.


Historical research has revealed that Adolf Hitler, when in the army intelligence service, made contact with ultra Right-wing circles and was also invited to the Thule Gesellschaft.45 However, the significance of the fact that he and his followers took over conspiracy theories whose origins were clerical-anti-modernist and conservative-monarchist, does not seem to have been fully appreciated in the general treatment of Nazi history and ideology.

It has hardly been noticed that, apart from the reference to the “Protocols” in Mein Kampf, neither Hitler nor Alfred Rosenberg, in his book Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts, say anything about the origin of the antimasonic and antisemitic, i.e. anti-democratic, conspiracy. Consequently, the conspiracy theory is erroneously regarded today as having been a specifically Nazi phenomenon. The fact that Rosenberg, the former student of architecture in Moscow, joined the Thule Gesellschaft at the end of 1918, has also been overlooked. Having acquainted himself with the “Protocols” when they were popular with the White Russians, he soon produced a German edition, together with other antisemitic literature original or in translation. In 1920, he published a translation of Le Juif, le Judaisme et la Judaisation des Peuples Chrétiens by Gougenot des Mousseaux (1869), entitled Der Jude, das Judentum und die christlichen Völker. This work, which was praised by Pope Pius IX at the time, constitutes one of the models on which the “Protocols” were based, and assigns to the freemasons an auxiliary role in the destruction of Christianity and the establishment of a Jewish rule.

In his two pamphlets published in Munich in 1920 and 1922, entitled Die Spur des Juden im Wandel der Zeiten and Das Verbrechen der Freimaurerei: Judentum, Jesuitismus, Deutsches Christentum, Rosenberg refers to practically all the literature written on the theme of the conspiracy theory; he cites in his support, for example, Barruel, Simonini, the pamphlet Das Judentum in der Maurerey, Eckert and the Jesuit Pachtler. Other canvassers of the conspiracy theory were also drawing on the Christian counter-revolutionary literature. In 1919, Karl Heise wrote his book Entente-Freimaurerei und Weltkrieg, and in 1919 and 1921 Friedrich Wichtl published pamphlets entitled Weltfreimaurerei, Weltrevolution und Weltrepublik, and Freimaurerei, Zionismus, Kommunismus, Spartakismus, Bolschewismus. After reading Weltfreimaurerei in which world capitalism, Zionism, bolshevism and freemasonry are lumped together as partners in conspiracy, nineteen-year old Heinrich Himmler wrote in his diary: “A book which enlightens us on everything and tells us against whom we must fight”.46

Wichtl who saw “in the bolshevist chaos a transitional stage before the advent of total world domination by Jewry”,47 in Weltfreimaurerei made the threatening prediction: “The poor German nation, tricked and so shamefully cheated, has up to now bemoaned its fate in silence — it takes a long time for truth to be grasped by the conscientious German; but when it is a teutonic fury will break loose the like of which has never been seen before”.48


Prophetic though these words might appear in retrospect it must be remembered that it was the world economic crisis that unbalanced the stabilised Weimar Republic. As an ideological weapon and demagogic instrument of subversion, the conspiracy theory played a not inconsiderable part in the battles for social and political decision, inasmuch as the scapegoats it put up helped to create a dualistic world picture which effectively veiled the reality of the situation.

Apart from Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde who in 1961 published the much discussed essay Der Deutsche Katholizismus im Jahre 1933,49 Ernst Topitsch in particular drew attention to the historical fact that, despite its basic criticism of the Nazis, the Catholic Church fully “shared their hostility to enlightenment, liberalism and socialism”.50

The cynically calculating way in which this “hostile affinity of Conservatism and National Socialism”51 could be exploited is illustrated in the book Freimaurer und Gegenmaurer im Kampf um die Weltherrschaft, by Franz Haisar, 1924. Here, the founder of the “All-Aryan League”, which was closely akin to Nazism, states his case: “From the Christian point of view the Jew is an enemy and destroyer of religion and morality, Throne and Altar. This outlook promotes the unity of the Right-wing cultural movement and should be stressed by the all-Aryan League”.52 It must be left to political discretion (he said) to stress in some countries the “undermining of Throne and Altar by the Jewish democratic Freemasonry”, in others the “Bolshevist threat”.53 Later Haiser makes the pointed remark: “Religious questions should be handled very gingerly because we are addressing ourselves to all German Right-wing parties — thus also to religious parties”,54 as for the monarchists and Christian socialists, the attitude towards them had to be very “flexible” and “calculating” for “we need them in our fight against the Jews, ‘progressives’, liberalism, enlightenment and mob rule; the rest of their programme is no concern of ours”.55

The fact that this Christian-conservative conception actually (if involuntarily) promo- ted fascist dictatorship, is also indicated by Pope Pius XII’s assertion on 24 July 1958 that freemasonry was the “common parent” of scientific atheism, dialectic materialism, rationalism and secularism; he attacked it as the principal cause of “the modern decline of religious faith”.56

Like General Erich Ludendorff, who in 1927 declared that “the nations are being enslaved by the Jewish-masonic catchwords ‘Freedom, Equality and Fraternity’”,57 the Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm II, exiled in Holland, was convinced that the World War had been “engineered by Jewish masonic lodges in France, England and Italy”.58

The sweeping anti-modernist stance of the conspiracy theory, can help to explain why a not inconsiderable section of the German middle classes and peasants as well as the clergy, despite undoubted reservations, came to terms with Nazism as the supposedly lesser evil in a crisis situation, and thus made the “seizure of power” possible. Inasmuch as the Weimar Republic, overtaxed by having to cope with the crisis, represented to many the product of defeat, the Versailles “treaty of enslavement” could be seen as an anti-German plot hatched by the “Jewish masonic democratic” Entente and as an “act in the spirit of freemasonry”.59

Thus the conspiracy theory was directed not only against Jews and freemasons but just as much against western-style democracy rooted in the American and French Revolutions. It was also directed against the Bolshevik dictatorship which, as opponents of western democracy understood it, was a product of the ideas of 1789.60


It does not have to be explained here how eventually Nazi tyranny turned against those conservatives and Christians who on the whole agreed with Nazism in opposing the ideas of 1789. Their frequently politically motivated initial encouragement of the Nazis, for whose unscrupulous actions they were no match, in no way detracts from the tragic situation. In 1937, after the failure of its policy of co-existence, the Catholic Church resumed its basic opposition to Nazism with the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge.

The Nazis in turn clarified the situation by extending the conspiracy theory in its most extreme form beyond Jews, freemasons, liberals and socialists to the Jesuits and thus the Catholic Church. In doing so, they reverted to General Ludendorff who had stated as far back as 1929 that the Jesuit is “as a financial tycoon closely connected with Jews and closely associated with the more important lodges of freemasonry”.61

This variation on the conspiracy theory was officially adopted by Section VII of the Reich Security Head Office devoted to “ideological research and analysis” which in 1939 began to promote the ideological struggle against Judaism, the Church and Freemasons. Section VII was headed by the Nazi expert on Freemasonry Professor Dr. Franz Alfred Six, who in 193862 cited H. C. Ecker’s pamphlet of 1788 as evidence for his conspiracy theory.63 As Himmler’s confidential agent, Six was promoted during the war to head of the cultural-political department of Ribbentrop’s Foreign Office. In this capacity he, at the Conference of Advisers on Jewish Matters in April 1944, expressly welcomed the “physical elimination of Eastern Jewry”, thereby condoning the so-called “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”.64

Source: Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein (1977) The story of the Jewish‐Masonic conspiracy, 1776‐1945, Patterns of Prejudice, 11:6, 1-21

  1. Heinrich Himmler, Wesen und Aufgabe der SS und der Polizei. 1937. Also Geheimreden 1933 bis 1944. Frankfurt-am-Main, 1974, pp. 56-58. ↩︎

  2. Cf. Johannes von Bieberstein, Die These von der Verschwörung 1776-1945. Bern 1976. Chapter 2.5. ↩︎

  3. Reinhard Koselleck, Kritik und Krise. Freiburg, München. 1959, p. 64. ↩︎

  4. Immanuel Kant, Werke, Berlin. 1914. Vol. vi, p. 389. ↩︎

  5. Schatten und Licht. Vienna. 1786, p. 30. ↩︎

  6. Cf. Herder Korrespondenz, 1974. No. 11, p. 599 ff. ↩︎

  7. See Albert Monod, De Pascal à Chateaubriand. Paris. 1916, p. 302. ↩︎

  8. Allerneueste Geheimnisse der Freimaurer. Part I. n.p., 1780, p. 108. ↩︎

  9. Ibid., Part II. 1780, p. 39. ↩︎

  10. See Reinhold Taute, Die katholische Geistlichkeit und die Freimaurerei. Berlin. 1903, p. 142. ↩︎

  11. See Arthur Singer, Der Kampf Roms gegen die Freimaurerei. Leipzig. 1925. p. 37. ↩︎

  12. On this see Richard van Dülmen, Der Geheimbund der Illuminaten. Stuttgart. 1975. Also Bieberstein, op. cit., chapter 2.7. ↩︎

  13. Ernst August von Göchhausen, Enthüllung des Systems der Weltbürger-Republik. Leipzig. 1786, p. vii. ↩︎

  14. Ibid., p. 418. ↩︎

  15. See Bieberstein, op. cit., chapter 3.4. ↩︎

  16. See Jacob Katz, Jews and Freemasons in European History 1723-1939. Cambridge/Mass. 1970, p. 13 ff. ↩︎

  17. Ibid., chapter 3: “The Order of the Asiatic Brethren”. ↩︎

  18. See Walter Grab, Norddeutsche Jakobiner. Frankfurt-am-Main. 1967, p. 36. ↩︎

  19. Johann Christian Ehrmann, Das Judenthum in der M . . y (Maurerey). Frankfurt-am-Main. 1816, p. 4. ↩︎

  20. Ibid., p. 7. ↩︎

  21. The references will be found in Le Contemporain. Revue Catholique. Vol. xvi. Paris. 1878, p. 59 ff. ↩︎

  22. Augustin Barruel, Denkwurdigkeiten zur Geschichte des Jakobinismus. Part I. Münster and Leipzig. 1800, p. 349. ↩︎

  23. Evangelische Kirchenzeitung. Berlin. No. 20, 11 March 1854. ↩︎

  24. In his Christlich-germanische Staatslehre, published in Kleine Historiche Schriften. Vol. i. Stuttgart. 1880, p. 365. ↩︎

  25. G. M. Pachtler, Der stille Krieg gegen Thron und Altar oder das Positive der Freimaurerei. Amberg. 1876, p. 23. ↩︎

  26. Historisch-politische Blätter für das Katholische Deutschland. Vol. lxx. 1872, p. 668. ↩︎

  27. See Jacob Toury, Die politische Orientierung der Juden in Deutschland. Tübingen. 1966, p. 271, quoting the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums of 1875. ↩︎

  28. Barruel, op. cit., part iv. 1804, p. 599. ↩︎

  29. For further details see Bieberstein, op. cit., chapter 6. ↩︎

  30. Eduard Emil Eckert, Der Freimaurerorden in seiner wahren Bedeutung. Dresden. 1852, p. 367. ↩︎

  31. G. M. Pachtler, Die internationale Arbeiterverbindung. Essen. 1871, p. 77 ff. ↩︎

  32. G. M. Pachtler, Der Götze der Humanität oder das Positive der Freimaurerei. Freiburg. 1875, p. 431. ↩︎

  33. Pachtler, Die internationale Arbeiterverbindung, op. cit., p. 106. ↩︎

  34. See Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte. Ed. H. Jedin. Vol. vi, part I. 1971, pp. 750-756. ↩︎

  35. See Herder Korrespondenz, 1958-59, p. 746. ↩︎

  36. Anselme Tilloy, Le péril judéo-maçonnique. Paris. 1897. Chapter 7. ↩︎

  37. Ibid., p. 130. ↩︎

  38. See Amine Haase, Katholische Presse und die Judenfrage. München. 1975, p. 154. ↩︎

  39. Cf. Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide. The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy. London, 1967. Also Walter Laqueur, Deutschland und Russland. Berlin. 1966, pp. 99-121. ↩︎

  40. Historisch-politische Blätter für das Katholische Deutschland. Vol. clvi. 1915. pp. 65-71. ↩︎

  41. Hermann Gruber, Freimaurerei, Weltkrieg und Weltfriede. Leipzig. 1917, p. 1. ↩︎

  42. Ibid., p. 41. ↩︎

  43. See Stenographische Berichte und Verhandlungen des Preussischen Herrenhauses in der Session 1916-18. 34. Sitzung. Spalten 1042-1045. ↩︎

  44. See Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler kam. München. 1933, p. 25 ff. ↩︎

  45. See Bieberstein, op. cit., p. 206 ff. ↩︎

  46. See Josef Ackermann, Himmler als Ideologe. Göttingen. 1970, p. 25. ↩︎

  47. Friedrich Wichtl, Freimaurerei, Zionismus, Kommunismus, Spartakismus, Bolschewismus. Hamburg. 1921, p. 31. ↩︎

  48. Ibid. ↩︎

  49. Hochland. 1961. No. 3, p. 215 ff. ↩︎

  50. Ernst Topitsch, Sozialphilosophie zwischen Ideologie und Wissenschaft. Neuwied, Berlin. 1966. p. 79 ff. ↩︎

  51. Ernst Nolte, Theorien uber den Faschismus. Köln. 1976, p. 60. ↩︎

  52. Franz Haiser, Freimaurer und Gegenfreimaurer im Kampf um die Weltherrschaft. Munchen. 1924, p 4. ↩︎

  53. Ibid., p. 5. ↩︎

  54. Ibid., p. 103. ↩︎

  55. Ibid., p. 123. ↩︎

  56. See Franz Hillig, “Haben sich die Freimaurer gewandelt?”, in Stimmen der Zeit. 1965, p. 100. ↩︎

  57. In his book Vernichtung der Freimaurerei durch Enthuellung ihrer Geheimnisse. Hamburg. 1927, p. 10. ↩︎

  58. See Friedrich Schmitt-Ott, Erlebtes und Erstrebtes. Wiesbaden. 1952, p. 195. ↩︎

  59. Friedrich Hasselbacher, Frankreichs Totentanz um die “Menschenrechte”. Berlin. 1941, p. 223. See also Heinrich Lutz, Demokratie im Zwielicht. Der Weg der deutschen Katholiken aus dem Kaiserreich in die Republik, 1914-1925. Munchen. 1963, p. 79. ↩︎

  60. See Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. Munchen. 1933, p. 85: “Western democracy today is the forerunner of Marxism which but for it would not be conceivable”, etc. ↩︎

  61. In Vernichtung der Freimaurerei durch Enthuellung ihrer Geheimnisse. Hamburg. 1927. ↩︎

  62. Dr. Franz Alfred Six, Freimaurer und Judenemanzipation. Hamburg. 1938, p. 10 ff. ↩︎

  63. See p. 3. ↩︎

  64. See Robert Kempner, SS im Kreuzverhör. Munchen. 1964, p. 284. ↩︎