Freemasons: German Masonic Museum in Bayreuth

Within the framework of an event on 4 December 2019, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has restituted 203 illegally acquired books from its holdings to the German Masonic Museum in Bayreuth in the presence of Minister of Sciences Bernd Sibler.

During the years 1937/ 38 the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek took over 450 titles of Masonic literature in an exchange with the SS school Haus Wewelsburg. The transaction included the swap of double copies of the BSB against libraries of Freemasons’ lodges, which had been seized between 1933 and 1936. These undoubtedly constituted NS loot.

201 of the books do not have any further marks of provenance other than a "swap/ donor number". Despite extensive research, the search for former lodges or current legal successors yielded no results. In these cases, the German Masonic Museum acts as a centre for pooling book holdings of the lodges disowned in 1933.

Two further works formerly belonged to the Grand Lodge "zur Sonne" in Bayreuth. After its forced dissolution in 1933, the lodge was reactivated as Grand Lodge "zur Sonne für Bayern" in 1948. In 1949 it was merged with today’s "Großloge der Alten Freien und Angenommenen Maurer von Deutschland" (Grand Lodge of the Old Free and Adopted Masons of Germany). The German Masonic Museum indirectly also acts as the legal successor of the Grand Lodge zur Sonne.