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Artefacts Stored By Nazis In Polish Museum Reveal Unknown Masonic History: Report

A vast history of archives from the anti-Masonic purge of Nazis, discovered by curators in Poland shed light on the lesser-known secrets from the time.

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A vast history of archives from the anti-Masonic eradication movement of Nazis, studied by curators in Poland shed light on the lesser-known secrets from the time. A trove of the collection housed in an old Polish university library is said to be one of the "biggest" Masonic archives in Europe. The artefacts open gates to the history of Freemasonic period women's lodges to musical scores used in closing ceremonies during the time with much yet to be learned about.

Speaking to AFP, curator Iuliana Grazynska said that she believes there is still a notable amount of history that is to be unearthed. "It still holds mysteries," she added. Grazynska and her team have currently started working in dozens of boxes of uncategorised papers. Meanwhile, at least 80,000 more items and documents in the UAM city library of Poznan have to be scrutinised for solid data. The archives date from the 17th century to the pre-World War II time and can provide mines of information, she informed.

It is pertinent to mention that initially, the Freemasons were equivocal to the Nazis as the latter started advancing, thus, efforts to eliminate the former did not form top priority. However, in the 1930s Freemasons became a subject of conspiracy theories and partly because they were associated with Jews, resulting in Nazis imprisoning or persecuting the Masonic members in Germany and elsewhere during WWII. The Nazis then collected tons of fine prints and copies of speeches and membership lists in order to ensure the seizure of the Masonic lodges.

Archive houses first Masonic constitution from 1723

Speaking to AFP, the collection manager for over three decades, Andrzej Karpowicz stated that "The Nazis hated the Freemasons." He also added that the Nazis were mostly anti-Masonic due to the former's anti-intellectual and anti-elite notions. Talking about the collection, he noted that the library stores the first edition of the Masonic constitution written in 1723. It also has fine prints from the 17th century that can be traced back to the Rosicrucians.

Most of the historic collection was moved from Germany as Allied forces' bombing intensified. For safekeeping purposes, two parts were moved to Poland, which was later seized by Polish authorities and another to the Czech Republic. However, Polish authorities banned the study of the items as Freemasonry was blocked under Communism. The archive "is a mine of information that you can dig at will," Karpowicz told AFP.

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