The eventful History of Freemasons in Austria



1717 24 June: Foundation of the world´s first Grand Lodge in London (UGLE)
1738 Papal Bull of Pope Clement XII dealing with the condemnation of Freemasonry “In Eminenti“
1742 Foundation of the first Viennese Lodge „Aux Trois Canons” (Three Rules) 
1751 Bull ”Providas” of Pope Benedict XIV against Freemasons
1770 Foundation of the Lodge ”Zur Hoffnung” (Hope), later “Zur Gekrönten Hoffnung” (Crowned Hope) in Vienna
1776 Abolition of torture in Austria at the request of the freemason Joseph von Sonnenfels
1780 Death of Maria Theresa, her son Joseph II will succeed
1781 Joseph II issues the Tolerance Patent: free exercise of religion and equal political rights for all Protestant confessions and the Greek Orthodox Church
1781 Lodge “Zur Wahren Eintracht” (True Harmony) in Vienna
1784
  • Foundation of the Grand National Lodge (Große Landesloge) of Austria
  • Admittance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the Lodge “Zur Wohltätigkeit” (Charity)
1785 ”Masonic patent”: Freemasonry is on the one hand recognized by the state, on the other hand supervised and the number of lodges is limited.
1790 Emperor Joseph II dies
as of 1793/95 Ban and systematic persecution of Freemasonry until the era of Emperor Franz Joseph
1867 The Austro-Hungarian Compromise leads to the creation of the dual monarchy, Emperor Franz Joseph confirms the "Basic Law on the general rights of citizens" - as a result, Freemasonry is now allowed in Hungary - in Austria, it remains prohibited
1869 Austrian Freemasons visit the Lodge "Zur Verbrüderung" (Fraternization) in Ödenburg (Sopron) - decisive impetus for the foundation of "Grenzlogen"
1871 Viennese Freemasons found the first Lodge called "Humanitas" on Hungarian soil in Neudörfl. As a result, Austrian Freemasons establish 16 Lodges on Hungarian territory
1908 Ferdinand Hanusch is accepted by the Lodge "Lessing", Alfred H. Fried from the Lodge "Socrates" - followed in 1909 by Richard Schlesinger, who was elected the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Vienna in 1919
1918
  • 12. November: Proclamation of the “Republic of German-Austria” 
  • 8. December: Foundation of the “Grand Lodge of Vienna“ by the previous “Grenzlogen” (Lodges across the border) “Humanitas“, “Sokrates“, “Eintracht“, “Treue“, “Lessing Zu den 3 Ringen“, “Kosmos“, “Gleichheit“, “Zukunft“, “Schiller“, “Freundschaft“, “Goethe“, “Pionier“, “Zur Wahrheit“ und “Fortschritt“. Lodges meet in the Inner City of Vienna, at Dorotheergasse 12
1920 Admittance of Julius Tandler to the Lodge “Lessing zu den drei Ringen”. As Vienna City Councilor for Welfare, he creates an internationally renowned welfare system.
1921 Alfred Hermann Fried passes away. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 for his concept of pacifism. He was significantly affecting the thinking of the Grand Lodge.
1922 Admittance of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi to the Lodge “Humanitas”. His Pan-European ideas are considered the origin of the idea of a European Union and are supported by the Grand Lodge.
1926 Foundation of the "Austrian League for Human Rights" with the participation of numerous freemasons.
1933 Elimination of parliament by Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss and establishment of the authoritarian corporate state (“Ständestaat”). Dollfuss is murdered in the course of a National Socialist coup attempt in July 1934.
1934 Civil War in February 1934; Elimination of Social Democratic Party; Freemasonry is in ward. Civil servants have to choose between their job and membership. Police officers can join the masonic meetings and works. Lodge work become near to impossible. As a result, the number of brethren in the following years is halved.
1938

12. March. Invasion of German troops in Austria. The Lodge building in the Inner City is already stormed and looted on 13 March by the Nazis. In the following days, imprisonment of many freemasons, including Grand Master Dr. Richard Schlesinger by the Gestapo. He dies as a result of denied medical care in prison on 5 June 1938.

1945
Shortly after the liberation of Vienna in August 1945, 48 surviving Masons decide on the new start or the re-founding of the Austrian Grand Lodge. The first Grand Master elected is Dr. Karl Doppler, a physician. After his death two years later, Bernhard Scheichelbauer becomes his successor
1955
Following the State Treaty the “Grand Lodge of Vienna for Austria” turns into the until today existing “Grand Lodge of Austria”.
2020
The "Grand Lodge of Austria" consists of 77 lodges with around 4,000 members