There were lots of Anti-Masons through-out history. Ever since the first lodge came out in the open there were people against the fraternity. 20th century Europe saw some of the harshest opponents of the craft – Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini… But probably the most extreme one was General Franco in Spain.
Although his father and brother were both masons, he had such a hatred for the fraternity, that it’s hard to describe it with words. The legend says that in his youth he even wanted to petition a lodge and his own father said about him: “If you petition, the first black ballot will be mine…”.
In July 1936, he began the civil war in Spain declaring that he will liberate Spain from Communism and Freemasonry (no-one has yet figured out what the connection between the two is! J ).
Where ever his army won a battle and occupied a town or a village, everyone that was identified as a mason was expressly sentenced to death and shot on the spot. His soldiers were eliminating anyone who had any contact with masonry, sometimes killing whole families. Lodges were burned, properties confiscated. Reportedly, some were even hurled into working engines of steam trains. By the end of 1937, every single mason in the territories under Franco’s rule has been murdered.
Although there were only little over 5.000 masons in Spain before the war, there were 80.000 people accused of being masons or having Masonic ties.
After the war, the same situation continued and even family members of masons could be punished for allowing their relative to strain from the right path. Freemasonry ceased to exist in Spain, until late in 1974. In 1975, the King Juan Carlos introduced democracy back in the country and lifted the ban on the Craft. The Grand Lodge of Spain was established on November 6th, 1982.