Freemasonry dies

Lodge Brothers : Freemasons: The open-minded society

When Christoph Bosbach comes home from work on a stressful Thursday, he changes clothes, puts on white gloves and ties the white apron around his hips. “Then something comes along that I've known every syllable of for 20 years.” And he can't reveal a syllable about it. The Masonic ritual. His perception changes, in the silence of the meeting place, with a burning candle. He's coming down. The visits to the lodge “have a rosary effect”, downright purifying. They made him a different person in everyday life too.

Christoph Bosbach is the supreme Freemason of the Federal Republic, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodges of Germany. He says: “I, Christoph, learned first: When I get angry with someone, I ask myself: What did I contribute to it myself?” Only when something remains after the self-questioning does he confront the other person. "In a community where everyone else thinks the same, it is almost impossible for you to argue." And then he says, "We are all not afraid of death."

"I am a policeman and a freemason"

I beg your pardon? 15,000 German Freemasons, an estimated 6.8 million worldwide, and every single one without fear of death?

The fact that you can speak so openly with Bosbach on a Tuesday lunchtime in July 2017 in the quiet, green bay window of the great state box of the Freemasons of Germany in Berlin-Dahlem has to do with the fact that the Freemasons will be 300 years old this year. At the same time, they are facing perhaps the greatest upheaval in their history. Because they took the secrecy so seriously that they almost hushed up.

The situation is so grave that, of all people, the secretive Freemasons are considering a poster campaign for the first time in the coming year. They have surprising motifs in mind: “I am a police officer and a freemason.” There is already an elegant, modern website. The protest letters from the 80-year-old members were handwritten.

15,000 members in the country, spread over 500 boxes, “that's just not enough,” says Bosbach. Before the Second World War there were 130,000 members, the smaller England has 210,000 today. In England, the Duke of Kent, an uncle of Prince William, is the patron of the English "Freemasons". "The Freemasons are viewed quite differently in society."

That was once the case in Germany. Goethe, Lessing, Liszt were there, Friedrich II founded the oldest lodge in Berlin. Caspar David Friedrich was a Berlin Freemason and Emperor Wilhelm I. Now the anniversary is coming up and Christoph Bosbach says: “We have 300 years of experience in spinning ourselves in a cocoon not to let anything leak out. "

Film people add a corpse for their crime novels

At one noon the house in cozy Dahlem is quiet, waiting. The grand lodge of the United Lodges of Germany is designed to impress, like many lodge houses with their open staircases and pillars. Creaky parquet, wood-paneled walls, coffered ceilings, club armchairs. Some windows are bricked up, others are covered. The props for the Masonic ritual, the white aprons, hang in an illuminated display case. Every now and then, says Bosbach, film people do a crime thriller here. Then they add a corpse to it.

Two times there was a major bloodletting in Germany, from which the Freemasons hardly recovered: in the “Third Reich” and in the GDR the lodges were banned. One thing is clear to everyone, says Bosbach: “We have to open up. But we have no idea how to do it. "

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