The main French organization of Freemasons, the Grand Orient de France, paid homage this week to Nazi resisters and those who died in the extermination camps by going to the sites of two concentration camps.
Some 300 Freemasons, representing groups from Europe and Africa in addition to France, were jointed Sunday by representatives of Algerian women fighting fundamentalism in going to the death camp Auschwitz, in Oswiecim, Poland.
Another group of Freemasons, mostly French, went to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp near the town of Natzweiler in eastern France to remind the French state of its participation in the Nazi atrocities, those involved with the event said.
Freemasonry is an international secret society that has as its principles kindness, charity and mutual aid. The modern form of the society has had a history of anti-Semitism. At the same time, Freemasons were accused in anti- Semitic tract, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” of conspiring with Jews to take over the world.
During World War II, Nazis persecuted Freemasons together with Bolsheviks and Jews.