Academic research into freemasonry and fraternalism

Some of you might be interested in a new project that has just started at Manchester University by Dr Andy Balmer (Manchester); Dr Michael Durrant (Bangor) and Dr Laura Houseman (Manchester) based on the masonic books in the special collections at the John Rylands Library.

The project has a wordpress site (

Why not take a look!

The only Freemason in Hitler’s Government

In a joint meeting between The Lodge of Silent Temple and MAMR held at Manchester on a very wet November evening, the members were joined by VWBro Helge Horrisland from the Grand Lodge of Norway.

Helge had flown in from a conference already under way on the continent, to deliver his fascinating paper ‘Hjalmar Schacht – The Only Freemason in Hitler’s Government.

Peter Robinson, left with Helge Horrisland

Peter Robinson, left with Helge Horrisland

The proceedings began with the lodge of Silent Temple No 126 being opened in due form by master and MAMR President, WBro Peter Robinson. The first business was a poignant eulogy for Brian Clark who had been a member of MAMR for many years, delivered by WBro Ivan Eastwood.

The lodge business was conducted and concluded ready for the next part of the proceedings and Helge was introduced and commenced his paper which was illustrated with photographs and quotes.

Hjalmar Schacht was one of the most unusual, masonic characters from   the 20th century: it has been well documented that Hitler’s Nazi party had done its best to remove freemasonry from Germany, which involved the imprisonment and persecution of many Freemasons during world war two.  Yet Helge told us that Hjalmar had worked very closely with Adolf Hitler in rebuilding Germany’s economy following the first world war to ‘re arm’ and be ready to fight for a second time. He had emerged from good masonic stock and did not keep his membership a secret. Hitler appreciated his financial wizardry and appeared to tolerate his masonic beliefs at a time when he was actively rounding up masons and destroying their lodge rooms.

Eventually the relationship soured and following a bit of a show down Hitler had Hjalmar arrested and like many other of his brethren condemned, to imprisonment in a concentration camp. Despite all this we learned that he lived to the age of 93 only to die in an accident.

The paper was both fascinating and very interesting and MAMR were fortunate enough to host the first airing of the paper by Helge in the UK. The full transaction along with all the wonderful illustrations will appear in next year’s copy of the transactions.

At the festive board, the brethren enjoyed a tasty meal served in the wonderful surroundings of the study room at Manchester Hall.

MAMR’s John Belton gave a short talk based on an account of an American soldier who found himself in world war one England and was a stark contrast to the paper heard earlier in the evening.

Lodge master Peter Robinson brought this memorable meeting to a close with the Tyler’s toast and wished everyone an enjoyable Christmas.

Members of Silent Temple and MAMR listening to Helge Horrisland

Members of Silent Temple and MAMR listening to Helge Horrisland