28 September 1933
Certificate confirming Siegmund Baruch’s membership of the “Zur Bruderkette” Freemason lodge
National Socialists had a particularly hostile relationship with the Freemason movement from the start. The five Masonic principles—tolerance, freedom, equality, fraternity and humanity—were diametrically opposed to the ethnic, nationalist, racist and totalitarian ideology of the Nazis. Furthermore, a cornerstone of Nazi ideology was the idea of a Jewish-Masonic world conspiracy, propagated in the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion (first published in German in 1920). This antisemitic pamphlet had a major influence on the worldview of Adolf Hitler and leading members of the Nazi Party.
Persecution of the Freemasons began immediately after Hitler took power and many Freemason lodges disbanded to escape it. Among them was the “Zur Bruderkette” lodge in Hamburg, which closed its doors on 18 April 1933. Founded in 1847 and made up primarily of businessmen, it had been open to Jews from its inception. It is no longer possible to determine what percentage of its members were Jewish, but the fact that the teacher Joseph Feiner headed the lodge as “Worshipful Master” from 1921 to 1926 shows that Jews held many important posts.
Siegmund Baruch (1884–1957), who received the certificate shown here, was another Jewish member who performed many important duties, serving alternately as librarian, archivist and speaker during his twenty-one years at the lodge. We can assume that he attended the last general meeting on 12 September, at which the members decided how the lodge's assets were to be distributed.
“Zur Bruderkette” was re-founded after the war in October 1945. It is unclear whether any attempt was made to contact the former Jewish members. The festschrift published in 1972 to commemorate the lodge’s 125th anniversary remains silent on this point, mentioning only that very few members “survived the years of darkness.”
Zur Bruderkette Lodge, Hamburg.
(Disbanded by a members’ resolution on 18 April 1933.)
Herr Siegmund Baruch,
born on 30 January 1884,
was admitted as Apprentice on 13 November 1912,
received the Second Degree on 25 February 1914,
received the Third Degree on 12 January 1916.
He was a member of the the ZUR BRUDERKETTE lodge in Hamburg until it disbanded and held the following offices:
Hamburg, 28 September 1933.