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Petit Palais

Before the occupation of France by the Germans in World War II a number of French Anti- Masonic groups perfected a more or less unified organization for the express purpose of nullifying the influence of French Masonry before the invasion, and of preparing it for a quick destruction once their friends, the Germans, had arrived. One of the employed leaders of this organization was Bernard Fad, a gentleman who had published two books about Masonry for the American market. The scheme went forward like clockwork, and reached what was expected to be its grand climax in October, 1940, when the German and French Nazis working together opened a "vast" exposition of the "horrors and treacheries of Freemasonry" in the Petit Palace, Paris. They first had sealed the entrances to the temple of the Grand Orient of France at 16 Cadet St., of the Grand Lodge of France at 8 Puteaux Street, and of the National Grand Lodge of France, at 42 Rochechouart Street. Some 200 laborers were forcibly impressed to remodel the Petit Palais, remove the regalia, furniture, records, pictures, etc., from the temples of the three Grand Bodies, and to reassemble them in the quarters for the exposition. The exposition was open for two months.

A number of persons were commandeered into going through an imitation of Masonic ceremonies, attired in regalia, though not with much enjoyment. It would be easy to state at a distance that the thing boomeranged and that the rank and file of Frenchmen showed no interest or were bored when they attended, and it would be taken as an expression of resentment; but it happens in this case to have been literally true. To make up a show of interest the Boches took their own troops to the Palais by the lorry load; these looked, grinned, and gossiped among themselves, and were glad to get away. Any costume, even one of Mr. Goering's uniforms, or Mr. Hitler's trench coat, would look absurd if set up in a case, and was empty; Lodge costumes were even more ridiculous, and even less interesting.

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