Why Masons Wear Forget Me Nots
In the years between World War 1 and World War 2 The blue Forget Me Not Emblem (Das Vergissmeinnicht) was a standard symbol used by most charitable organizations in Germany, with a very clear meaning:
“Do not forget the poor and the destitute“.
It was first introduced in German Masonry in 1926, well before the Nazi era, at the annual Communication of the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in Bremen, where it was distributed to all the participants. That was a terrible time in Germany, economically speaking, further aggravated in 1929 following that year’s Great Depression.
That economic situation, contributed to Hitler’s accession to power. Many people depended on charity, some of which was Masonic. Distributing the forget-me-not at the Grand Lodge Communication was meant to remind German Brethren of the charitable activities of the Grand Lodge.
In early 1934, it became evident that Freemasonry was in danger. In that same year, the Grand Lodge of the Sun (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges, located in Bayreuth) realising the grave dangers involved, adopted the little blue Forget Me Not flower as a substitute for the traditional square and compasses.
It was felt the flower would provide brethren with an outward means of identification while lessening the risk of possible recognition in public by the Nazis, who were engaged in wholesale confiscation of all Masonic Lodge properties. Freemasonry went undercover, and this delicate flower assumed its role as a symbol of Masonry surviving throughout the reign of darkness.
In 1936 the Winterhilfswerk (a non- Masonic winter charity drive) held a collection and used and distributed the same symbol, again with its obvious charitable connotation. Some of the Masons who remembered the 1926 Communication possibly also wore it later as a sign of recognition. We have no evidence of that and its general signification still was charity, but not specifically Masonic charity.
During the ensuing decade of Nazi power a little blue Forget Me Not flower worn in a Brother’s lapel served as one method whereby brethren could identify each other in public (although even then it was not always safe to wear any non-Nazi pin), and in cities and concentration camps throughout Europe. The Forget Me Not distinguished the lapels of countless brethren who staunchly refused to allow the symbolic Light of Masonry to be completely extinguished.
When the Grand Lodge of the Sun was reopened in Bayreuth in 1947, by Past Grand Master Beyer, a little pin in the shape of a Forget Me Not was officially adopted as the emblem of that first annual convention of the brethren who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness to rekindle the Masonic Light.
At the first Annual Convent of the new United Grand Lodges Of Germany AF&AM (VGLvD), in 1948 Bro. Theodor Vogel, Master of the Lodge “Zum weißen Gold am Kornberg”, in Selb (then in Western-occupied Germany), remembered the 1926 and 1936 pin, had a few hundred made and started handing it out as a Masonic symbol wherever he went. When Brother Vogel was later elected GM of the Grand Lodge AFuAM of Germany and visited a Grand Masters’ conference in Washington, DC, he distributed.