Friedrich Ludwig Schröder (1744–1816) was one of the most significant reformers in German masonic history, creating his own rite and also being an influence on the culture of Germany, counting amongst his friends Lessing and Goethe.
During the lead up to World War II, the Nazis occupied the Grand lodge in” Welckerstrasse” in the city of Hamburg back in 1937. First, they used the lodge for an anti-masonic exhibition, and after that they ordered it teared down. The easiest way for them was to burn it, like the Nazis used to do with institutions that where proclaimed anti-German, but not in this case. Their intentions were to reveal the secrets of the Freemasons, and they dismantled the building piece by piece – finding nothing. In a rage, the Nazis destroyed the statue of the founder of the Grand lodge Friedrich Ludwig Schröder. With this act, they destroyed not only important masonic history, but also valuable German culture.
In was in 2016 when WM Hans-Peter Meissner (Lodge “Absalom zu den drei Nesseln) and the German artist and brother Jens Rusch (Lodge “Roland”) had a talk about what happened almost 80 years ago. They agreed that something had to be done, not only for the reconstruction itself, but mostly to send a signal to the public worldwide, that what was destroyed during this dark time in history could be reconstructed.
But how could this be done? It seems there were no eyewitnesses back from that time. The only proof of this statue was an old photograph of the statue on its previous place and an old oil painting of the Grandmaster Friedrich Ludwig Schröder. This oil painting is still in the reestablished lodge in Hamburg. Later there was found an eyewitness in brother Rolf Appel (born 1921), who saw the Nazis destroying the statue, when he visited the site together with his father, also a dedicated freemason. Brother Rolf only saw the act of destroying, but could not clear questions regarding the reconstruction itself. He follows the project with high interest, and hope that the statue will be placed in the lodge again after reconstruction. His memories about this act are well documented and saved for the future.
Via the homepage www.encyclopedia-masonica.com and Facebook, a group of interested freemasons was formed. The task for the group was to facilitate the reconstruction of this statue” pro bono” and” non-profit”. The goal was, and still is, to guarantee that this statue will be exhibited for the public, not only as an act of honouring Schröder, but also to send a signal to the world, a signal that is very important in the year 2017. There will be two versions reproduced in full-size: one in marble for display inside the lodge and one cast in bronze for display outside the lodge accessible for the public.
Here are some pictures that show the progress of the reconstruction of this important statue of Friedrich Ludwig Schröder: