Franz Eduard Farwerck, a biography

The man Franz Eduard Farwerck (1889-1969) somehow fascinates me. His first name is often spelled Frans, but his obituary has “Franz”, as do records in online genealogy websites. Before I had heard of the man I ‘accidentally’ ran into his major work Noord-Europese Mysteriën en Hun Sporen Tot Heden (‘Northern European Mysteries and their Traces to the Present’ 1970) at the perfect moment (2002/3). The amount of information, details and photos in this book is staggering and the red thread thought-provoking: In the Teutonic past there have been mystery-religions in Northern Europe just like there were mysteries around the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere in the world. However they changed in form, especially when Christianity came to those parts, they survived to our present day as one of the origins of Masonic symbolism. Elsewhere on this website you can read more about this and how this idea fits into ‘my own scheme’. I am not going to talk about that now, since Farwerck himself is the topic of this article (mostly see Traditionalistic Asatru) .

Because his theory is quite unique, because the waterfall of information is unique and because the man wrote only in Dutch, his ideas and the information he gathered are not easily accessible for many people. I have been writing about Franz Farwerck for many years in English so you too can learn a bit about the man and his thoughts. I write on this website, but also for other places (online and in print). A couple of years ago I wrote a short biography of him for the New Antaios Journal (no longer online, but here is a copy) which, looking back, could have been much more interesting biography-wise. I have found new information since and I keep running into information. Therefor I decided to write ‘a closer look of Frans Farwerck’ in 2015, but it became time to expand the text again. Since this is starting to look more and more like a biography, I have changed the title to ‘Franz Eduard Farwerck, a biography’. This text has been expanded a couple of times too.

To write this text I try to read as much of the man as possible. Much of what he wrote is hard to find and I keeping finding new places where he published. This made a list with publications which was getting much bigger than any bibliography of the man that I know, so I also put a bibliography with titles that I know of below this article. Also I have been combing through newspaper archives, the world wide web and other sources of information. The result is the most extensive biography available so far (as far as I know), but still very limited. There just is not a whole lot of information of the man and I have not tried to use ‘official’ sources such as family.

In June 2018 an article (1) was brought to my attention which is about two people, Franz Farwerck and Gerrit van Duyl. The article was published for a local historical group in Hilversum, where both men lived. The article does not have much new information, but the author (Hans Hoogenboom) seems to be more certain about certain things than I am and he appears to have seen the transcriptions of Farwerck’s interrogations after the war which give new insight into the mind of Farwerck. Also, Hoogenboom reached a few conclusions different from my own. He also missed some sources that could have made his article better and especially his information about Freemasonry is not very strong. The article is from 2015 so I am not the only person with an interest in the person Franz Farwerck.

In fall 2018 two new sources opened to me which shed more light on Farwerck’s Masonic career. The biggest discovery was that Farwerck became a Freemason much earlier than I thought. This forced me to review some thoughts and especially the chronology of certain events.

Early days

Franz Eduard Farwerck was born on 4 March 1889 in Hilversum in the Netherlands. His German father was Franz Otto Richard Heinrich Farwerck. Farwerck’s father was born around 1856 and his mother, Elise Dorothea Struve, around 1850. The grandfather of the father’s side was also called Franz. In 1888 Farwerck’s parents got married and a year later F.E. was born. There is a younger brother, born in 1892, listening to the name Carl Wilhelm (Willy). Franz remained unmarried. His brother married a woman named Johanna Boris, who appears more frequently under her latinised name Borrius (also in her own time). We will run into Johanna again. Carl and Johanna had three sons (born 1922, 1925 and 1930). Obituaries of Franz’ parents, his brother, Johanna and himself can be found online. Some names of grandnephews are usually mentioned. Some live in France, some stayed closer to their family.

Franz kept living with his parents and personnel. His mother passed away (apparently after a sickbed) in 1920, his father in 1930.

I have to mention the family business too. Franz and his brother worked together on a number of levels and also sister in law Johanna seems to have joined her husband on different projects. “Work” will be the first subject to look at.

Work

Farwerck was an extremely productive man and usually very fortunate as well. He studied in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK. Apparently in the same period that he studied he also started to work at a brown-coal factory (1909), two years later he became director (age 22)! Another year later, Farwerck started his own carpet factory which in 1915 merged with another company, which again merged later. Franz, Carl and a certain “J. Farwerck” (Johanna?) are all listed as directors of carpet factories. Farwerck senior was decorated in 1930 at the 100th anniversary of one of the factories just before he passed away. Carl and Johanna’s son and his partner seem to have taken over the business later on.

Farwerck is also mentioned being active in the glass industry, a pottery and in 1933 Franz would also join the counsel of a local bank in the small town where he lived (Hilversum).

He seems to have had social ideas. He told Meijer Polak (about whom later) in 1947 that he was part of so many committees because he hoped to improve the situation of workers. One way of doing that was by having workers ‘buy in’ obligatory to the company where they worked and give them a influence in return. This influence did not exactly turn out that way, which was not good for Farwerck’s name. His chauffeur (Willem Viereke) even told the same Polak that Farwerck was hated by his employers. Viereke himself did too apparently. He told Polak Farwerck perhaps paid his wages, but had him and his wife starve during the war. The fact that Viereke also had to leave the coach house for Willy Farwerck and his family probably did not help.

That said, both in his professional life as in his membership of two organisations (see below) Farwerck said to work for the well-being of his fellow humans.

and other activities

Hoogenboom describes that Farwerck seems to have had an interest in ‘things spiritual’. Hilversum was a spiritualistic hotspot during his life. Farwerck had neighbors that were mediums and all sorts of seances and gatherings were held in his vicinity. That does not automatically mean that Farwerck visited them all, but a fact is that he wrote a little book about Nostrodamus and he studied the Kabbalah. Also he seems to have been active in Theosophical circles and he certainly was impressed enough to help found a foundation to spread the ideas of Emile Coué (1857-1926) in 1924.

Coué was a French pharmacist who found out that his soothing words accompanying the medicines he provided, worked just as well as the medicines themselves (a placebo effect). He developed a system of auto-suggestion. I have not been able to find out how long this foundation lasted. One of the other founders of this foundation, L.J.C. van Meerwijk, is a person we will run into again later.

Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), the founder of ‘Universal Sufism’ found enough people to open four centres in the Netherlands in the early 1920’ies. In his autobiography he mentions people who were involved in this initiative. He mentions a “de Heer Farwerck”, not as an early member, but as someone who “took an active part in working” (2). Whether this was Franz or Willy remains unclear.

Now we come to a new angle in our story. I knew that Farwerck was one of the people to found a local Rotary Club in his hometown in 1928. Hoogenboom puts the Rotary quite central in Farwerck’s life. It was the Rotary network that got him approached to join the NSB (about which later) and where he may have learned (or tried) to better humanity and protect heritage. I have the idea that Hoogendoorn vastly overlooks another element of Farwerck’s life, but more about that later.

This ‘bettering’ Farwerck focussed on imbecile and defective children which took a lot of energy of Farwerck’s Rotary Club. Perhaps this is about a society that Farwerck helped to found with the name “De vereeniging tot steun aan maatschappelijk onvolwaardigen”, a very old fashioned name that means something like ‘Society for the aid of socially deficient’. I have found a newspaper advertisement from 1932 to announce a lottery to raise money.

In 1933 Farwerck was one of the people (including his brother it seems and apparently this also came from his Rotary Club) who started a local museum with the short name “‘t Goois Museum” (nowadays “Museum Hilversum”). For this museum he would give lectures and write information. From this time on he also lectured about archaeology and the like.

René de Clerq (1877-1932) was a Belgian author. With De Clerq’s oldest daughter and one other person, Farwerck founded a De Clerq foundation in 1940 to preserve the author’s legacy.

Also it seems that Franz had something with horses, just as the rest of his family.

History, art, folklore and symbolism

I do not know where Franz caught the virus, but he was extremely interested in the ways of the ancestors.

To Polak he would say in 1947:

My interest for the human races originated when I was 16, when in a museum I saw the remains of a prehistoric man. Ever since I have read every possible scientific publication about this. Gradually I came to the conclusion that heritage played a large role in human nature and what comes from that. (3)

Perhaps another cause for this interest is that in 1917 that a fairly spectacular finding was made on the grounds of a fireplace-factory in his hometown, the owner of which would years later be in the same Rotary Club as Farwerck.

When he traveled to Germany for his work after 1913, he used the occasions to visit as many ancient sites, old churches, folklorist events, etc. as possible. He made many, many pictures which would illuminate many of his later works, especially Levend Verleden (‘living past’) from 1938.

That he did not only make notes and photos is proven when in January 1940 his villa catches fire. A newspaper article (see gallery below) mentions that “the family F. Farwerck” was not at home at the time, but that that extremely cold night “very many pieces of art, including precious paintings” were lost. According to the Ritman Library (4) he was also “a collector of occult books”. Apparently he was a financially well-off businessman.

As we will see, Farwerck was much opposed to what he called “Bolshevism”, liberalism, equality and globalisation. Before our own era, society was more ‘natural’ and Farwerck saw a decline in old ethics. He was not alone with these ideas and he was not alone in his expectation that events in Germany could bring back these old ethics.

Politics

Chronologically I am making a leap now. This is because ‘story wise’ it fits better.

In 1931 the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (‘National-Socialist Movement’, from here on NSB) was founded by Anton Mussert (1894-1946) and Cornelis van Geelkerken (1901-1976). The NSB had one leader: Mussert. The organisation even became some sort of Mussert cult.

In the year the NSB set off, Farwerck, with a few other people, founded the “Ario-Germaansche Genootschap” (‘Ario-Teutonic Society’). It was not to last long. I have not found out how short exactly and what they did. Maybe this would have fitted better under the previous head (“History”, etc.), but I do not have enough information to judge. A fact is that Farwerck’s charitable organisation would be launched a year later (1932), so it is unlikely that this society was some sort of ‘Übermensch’ type of group. If it was, perhaps the Ario-Germaansche project ended in 1932 when Farwerck joined the NSB and that is actually what this part is about.

It seems that the founder of the NSB (Mussert), a Rotary Club member, approached another Rotary Club member to ask Farwerck (also member) to contact Mussert. Mussert was looking for a new head of “Division 3” (propaganda). Mussert and Farwerck soon became friends, but did not know that they had been watched by a variety of people from the start. Farwerck ‘invested’ a whopping ƒ 100.000,- (well over $ 50.000,-!) in Mussert’s organisation.

Already in 1934, a year after Farwerck joined, people critical towards the direction of the NSB (they were even more radical themselves), published a newspaper advertisement naming Farwerck as a Freemason. In 1935 a more serious publication was put out (“Zwart Front” or ‘Black Front’) exposing Farwerck as a Freemason. The authors had received a Masonic publication listing Farwerck’s Masonic functions. In the same year another advertisement was used to ask some questions to Mussert, a few of those were about Farwerck.

In spite of this, Farwerck managed to gather a group of ‘folkish’ people working on different projects. In 1937 he founded an Ahnenerbe-like organisation called “Der Vaderen Erfdeel” (which translates to something like ‘the fathers’ inheritance’), this was actually a ‘demotion’ from his position of head of propaganda after Farwerck insulted Mussert with a thoughtless action.

There was a publication called “Wolfsangel” (‘wolf angle’) would later be called “Der Vaderen Erfdeel” and again later “Volksche Wacht” (‘folkish guard’). Der Vaderen Erfdeel also published books, two by Farwerck. Der Vaderen Erfdeel got a different name when Farwerck left the NSB (see later) and things got more radical. The new organisation was called “Volksche Werkgemeenschap” (‘folkish work community’) (and again later “Germaansche Werkgemeenschap” (‘Teutonic work community’)) and the publishing branch was renamed to “Hamer” (‘hammer’). From then on most publications were strictly political.

Farwerck had made problems with another leading figure in the NSB, Meinoud Rost van Tonningen (1894-1945), who wanted to direct the NSB into a much more radical course. Farwerck opposed Rost van Tonningen’s antisemitism and called him “my biggest enemy”. Farwerck was on good foot with the leader, but pressure from Germany led Mussert into a difficult position. In the end he called a search of Farwerck’s house where a Masonic letter was found (about which later), the perfect argument to let go of Farwerck. This was in the year 1940.

Afterwards it was said that Mussert found Farwerck’s “Völkisch” approach too fluffy.

Farwerck’s NSB membership also brought him troubles with his neighbors especially when big plates with NSB advertisements appeared in his yard. He told Polak that this was not his own idea, but they sure made bad blood. In spite of that, he kept living in the same house, also when he was forced out of the NSB and also after the war.

After the war, Farwerck was investigated to see if he needed to be persecuted. He was thoroughly investigated by Meijer Polak who not only interviewed Farwerck himself, but also neighbors, NSB members and even Germans. It never came to persecution. According to a neighbor (to Polak) because of his health (which was not so bad that he could not work in the garden). The same neighbor said that years after the war Farwerck started to be visited by ex-NSB people after their detentions!

Using the pseudonym F. van Schoping (a reference to the birthplace of his father Schöppingen?), Farwerck published his more political writings. I have found only two of these, just one of them to read. In this Het Volksche Element in het Nationaal-Socialisme (‘the folkish element in National-Socialism’ 1937) Farwerck displays his ideas on “Bolshevism”, globalisation, the loss of traditional roles in society (like that of the woman), liberalism, etc. He does speak of “race”, “purity of race” and the like, but apparently not strongly enough for some people.

Strangely enough the second political work was only published in 1941 when Farwerck had already left the NSB. I have not been able to find much information about the publisher “Volk en Bodem” (‘folk and soil’). The publisher seems to have been established around that time.

Shortly I want to say something about ‘the question of the Jews’. Hoogenboom suggests that both Mussert and Farwerck were not antisemitic in the beginning, but did start to adopt some such ideas later on. The early NSB had Jews as members and one of them supposedly asked Farwerck for help when he sensed the rise of antisemitism. Farwerck wrote to Mussert that many NSB-members did not act according the information of “Brochure IV”. This brochure speaks about three kinds of Jews. Dutchmen who happen to be Jews, strict orthodox Jews and Jews who are against National Socialism. The first two kinds were not a problem and they could be members of the NSB. The last group was a problem, since they would not fit in the state that the NSB had in mind. As a side note, the next chapter says that National Socialist Freemasons were not a problem either. I would not be surprised if this brochure was from the pen of the head of propaganda, Farwerck.

It is also known that Farwerck and some of his colleagues were annoyed by the tone of some texts in newspapers such as Volk en Vaderland (‘folk and fatherland’). Furthermore it is clear that some publications became much more radical after Farwerck was forced out of the NSB.

On the other hand, as mentioned, the wife of a Jewish Masonic colleague asked for Farwerck’s expulsion from the order just before he left himself. More about that below..

My guess is that he had ideas that did not fall too well with ‘the common folk’, but which were not ‘strong’ enough for his political colleagues. A German letter from the time of the search of his house, uses Farwerck’s Masonic membership to connect him to Jewish bankers, Moscow and “the second internationale” (a socialist workers party).

Farwerck’s military history is fairly well documented in books such as De SS en Nederland (6) and Correspondentie van mr. M.M. Rost van Tonningen (5).

A funny sidenote makes an advertisement for a performance with Rost van Tonningen doing acrobatics on a wire and Farwerck did the choreography (see gallery). Speaking of fun and pun, I also found a Farwerck cartoon which I also added to the gallery below.

I will come back to the subject above, but first I am going to continue with the next subject.

Freemasonry

Now comes the -to me- most interesting part of the story. As we saw, Farwerck was a Freemason. More correct it is to say that he has been one, since he (supposedly) left the lodge when he joined the NSB in 1932, because he had figured out himself that this was an impossible combination. There is something weird to the story though. Farwerck did not just join the biggest Dutch Masonic order, the “regular” and men-only Grand Orient of the Netherlands, even in his hometown, which had a Grand Orient lodge since 1896. Instead he joined a much smaller and mixed gender organisation and a lodge in another (yet nearby) town. How did that come about? How much more libertarian and egalitarian than mixed gender Freemasonry do you want to get it? Did Farwerck develop the ideas exposed in his political writing during his time in mixed gender Freemasonry or did he have them before and somehow managed to balance between these two extremes?

To Polak he said:

In the Netherlands Masonry keeps away from all political interference and mainly occupies itself with spiritual matters. The idea that one has to work for the fellow man, which lives in Freemasonry, I hoped to be able to practice in the NSB. (6)

Farwerck wanted to improve the lives of his workers and he joined Freemasonry, the Rotary and even the NSB to help his fellow man! Idealism or naivety?

Back to Freemasonry. Let me start with a little history of mixed gender Freemasonry.

The mixed Masonic order Le Droit Humain appeared in France in 1893 and in 1904 the first Dutch(wo)men were initiated. The first lodge (Cazotte) followed in 1905. In the year that Farwerck got his first appointment as director (1911) a lodge was founded Laren, “Christiaan Rosenkreutz”. This was the same year that Farwerck was initiated (1911 and not, as I previously stated following the Dutch Wikipedia, 1918). He joined that very lodge. Some meetings even took place at his house when his lodge had no place to meet.

A little digging made clear that both Farwerck’s brother Willy and his wife Johanna were members of Le Droit Humain. Both joined years after Franz though, his brother in 1917 and Johanna in 1921. There must have been another reason for Farwerck joining the new lodge.

Johanna Farwerck-Borrius is mentioned in the dissertation The politics of Divine Wisdom of Herman de Tollenaere (1996) (8), a text about the influence of women in the Theosophical Society. Franz Farwerck happens to be mentioned in the book too!

Theosophist Selleger was the Dutch Paper Manufacturers Association’s chairman. TS [Theosophical Society] leader Cochius was presiding director of the Leerdam glass-works. Another director of that firm, the Hilversum industrialist F.E. Farwerck figured prominently in the Dutch TS and co-masonry. Military, clergy, and judiciary Officers and their wives and children were strongly represented in Theosophical Society membership.

Apparently Farwerck “figured prominently in the Dutch TS”. Early mixed gender Freemasonry in the Netherlands (as in most countries) was a ‘very Theosophical project’. Annie Besant (president of the international Theosophical Society) helped to found the first lodges. Besant did not want to use the atheistic ritual of the first Le Droit Humain lodges, but probably used the English Emulation ritual as basis for her own.

If Farwerck indeed was involved in the Theosophical Society, this may explain why he opted for mixed gender Freemasonry. I never really noticed that Farwerck had ‘a Theosophical sauce’ and I am quite versed in Theosophical literature. I quickly scanned some works and Farwerck was certainly no unthinking follower of Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) and co. He is even quite critical about the evolution theory so highly acclaimed by Theosophists. During his time as head of the Dutch Le Droit Humain (about which later) he even took quite a firm stance against Theosophical elements in some rituals. It may even not be a coincidence that Farwerck only joined Le Droit Humain when the first lodge with a non-Theosophical lodge was founded.

A fact is, though, that when you search the internet for Farwerck’s publications, many, even the most obscure, can be found in the Dutch Theosophical library in Amsterdam.

Willy (Carl Wilhelm) Farwerck does refer to Blavatsky in the only writing of his that I found, his long essay in the Bouwsteenen periodical (again, see below). This text also shows him to be fairly well-read in similar subjects as his brother. The text is well-written too. Willy also was ‘spiritually inclined’. The Royal Library in The Hague (Netherlands) has a few letters Willy exchanged with “parapsychologist” Georges Zorab. As we saw before, Hoogendoorn also said that Franz had an interest in ‘things spiritual’.

There are other things to shortly look at. The man Cochius that is mentioned in the quote from The Politics Of Divine Wisdom, was one of the persons who started the Rotary Club in Hilversum together with Farwerck and he also lead the Arnhem Theosophical lodge from 1905 to 1923. Farwerck need not have known Cochius before he joined Le Droit Humain of course. Somehow, the Theosophy<>co-Masonry link seems a valid one to explain Farwerck’s choice.

A little bit more about mixed gender Freemasonry

The first mixed gender lodge in the Netherlands (Cazotte) consisted of seven Theosophists. One of them was H.J. van Ginkel who was initiated by Annie Besant herself. Even though he was a Theosophist, Van Ginkel thought that Theosophy should not be brought into the lodge. Therefor he started the first mixed gender lodge (Christiaan Rosenkreutz) that was to adopt a non-Theosophical ritual written by himself in 1915. Van Ginkel edited the ritual of Annie Besant for that project. Later on the Supreme Council of Le Droit Humain in Paris (the international headquarters) also decided to diminish the Theosophical influence and opposed other rituals on their lodges. This caused the first schism within the order. In the Netherlands three lodges split off, including Cazotte, making Christiaan Rosenkreutz the oldest Le Droit Humain lodge today. Ironically, by the time Farwerck led the organisation, Le Droit Humain again had multiple rituals. Farwerck not only tried to prevent Theosophical rituals to return (unsuccessfully), but he was also critical towards the original Besant ritual and Van Ginkel’s modifications.

Van Ginkel and J.F. Duwaer (with whom he cooperated in several projects) started a publishing company which was to become the house publisher of Le Droit Humain Netherlands. The name varies a bit, but it was called “N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij” (‘Masonic publishing company’). This publisher was to print several works of Farwerck, mostly under pseudonym, the obviously Masonic “B.J. van der Zuylen” (‘B.J. of the Pillars’) and “F.E.F.”, pen names that Farwerck also used in the official Bulletin and the periodical Bouwsteenen (‘building block’). The same company published the little book of Farwerck’s sister in law (which first appeared in Bouwsteenen) and the article of Willy Farwerck.

Again Farwerck’s star rose quickly. 6,5 Years after his initiation he had reached the 30º. In 1922 he got the 33º and soon became Grand Commander, head of the ‘high grades’, which in the system of Le Droit Humain means, head of the Federation. In 1924 he was also member of the Supreme Council. Willy Farwerck was active within the ‘high grades’ too, his wife seems to have not been.

During his years within Le Droit Humain Farwerck was an active man. He held lectures in his own and other lodges, he was a member of several lodges, a couple of them he seems to have co-founded: Ken Uzelven (‘know yourself’) (Utrecht, 1919), Broedertrouw (‘brother’s loyalty’) (Amersfoort, 1921), Goethe Zum Flammenden Stern (‘Goethe to the flaming star’) (1921, Frankfurt Am Main) and Hiram Abif (Amsterdam, 1925). Carl Wilhelm and Johanna have also both been initiated in Christiaan Rosenkreutz and have also been members of Hiram Abif. Of the mentioned lodges in the Netherlands none lived long. Only Ken Uzelven would later relive and still exists today.

In 1927 Farwerck published his first book by the earlier mentioned publishing house. It was called Mysteriën en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid. (‘Mysteries and Initiations In Antiquity’). According to the Ritman Library (4), the cover (see gallery below) was designed by Stefan Schlesinger (1896-1944), an Austrian Jew who came to live in the Netherlands. Schlesinger would also design Farwerck’s Masonic ex-libris (see gallery) in the same year. Schlesinger was married to Anna (Be) Kerdijk (1882-1944). Both Schlesinger and Kerdijk were members of Le Droit Humain. Schlesinger seems to have been initiated, passed and raised in order to help start the lodge Vertrauen in Wien/Vienna in 1922. Kerdijk was already member when the Dutch federation was started. Later both were members of the lodge Georges Martin III. Schlesinger and Kerdijk appear to have been involved in the founding of the short-lived lodge Ars Regia (1927-1934) of which Schlesinger is Worshipful Master and Kerdijk Orator in 1927.

Later on I will extensively quote the book Broeders en Zusters: Honderd jaar Gemengde Vrijmetselarij (9), but for now it suffices to say that the author shortly mentions Kerkdijk saying: “Sister A. Kerdijk, who was married to an Austrian jew, already in 1932 asked for the dismissal of Brother Farwerck. She was not jewish herself, but wore the Star of David out of solidarity, when her husband was obliged to wear it. Both died in a German concentration camp.” (7)

Apparently, even before Farwerck joined the NSB there was ‘something wrong’ with him. Still, but a few years earlier, he had his first book and his ex-libris designed by Schlesinger. Also, as we saw, Farwerck opposed the growing antisemitism in the NSB years later. Kerdijk must have sensed something (else) of him.

I found a somewhat odd announcement of a “Teutonic Midwinter-Solstice festivity” organised by Christiaan Rosenkreutz and two other lodges and the “Kelto-Germaanschen Studiekring “Uggdrasil”” (‘Celto-Teutonic study circle “Uggrasil”‘) in Hilversum on May 4 1933. Oddly enough, Farwerck had left de organisation by then. Perhaps he did try to push the lodge in a ‘heathen direction’ or did he move to that very organisation while remaining in contact with his old brothers and sisters? See the gallery below for the advertisement.

Farwerck published under different names. During his Masonic years he an active writer. I have found nine titles between around 1927 and around 1933, see the bibliography below.

And then the war came…

War

When things started to run in an unwanted direction in Germany, Farwerck was Grand Commander of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain. Le Droit Humain in Germany was too small to have its own federation, so the few German lodges fell under the Dutch federation. In 1933 all German lodges (not just those of Le Droit Humain) were forced to close, the regime forbade Masonic practice. The material of the German lodges of Le Droit Humain was sent to the Netherlands to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Anxious about these events, in May 1933, the Worshipful Master of a Dutch lodge asked the Grand Commander to shed some light on the situation and the possible consequences for the Netherlands. Farwerck proved himself to be very naive! He wrote a lengthy article in the Bulletin of Le Droit Humain Netherlands. (The following quotes are from the book of Ank Engel (9), the untranslated texts can be found in the notes).

The new spirit spreading over Europe, has a negative and a positive side. Without the least of a judgement, we can conclude that the currents, which appear to us under the name of Fascism or National Socialism, are directed against the Marxist concept of class struggle and internationalisation of the proletariat against the liberal conception of freedom and a national collaboration of all classes of society with a subordination of individual freedom to the interests of the whole nation. (11)

From the same article:

A National Socialist Movement may be successful in countries such as Italy or Germany, but we see things in the Netherlands more soberly, we do not overheat so quickly. Moreover, we do not like ‘import’ and are the Netherlands not the classic country of “freedom”? Why worry about something that surely will not happen? (12)

With Farwerck as the highest authority in the organisation, it is likely that the national council agreed with his reply. The editors of the Bulletin did not and they replied critically. In reply to this, Farwerck even managed to write:

Also in the fascist state people have the freedom to develop as they want, think what they want, act as they like, provided that the act (and the act alone) is not contrary to the public interest. In other words, ones freedom should not come before the individual interests at the expense of others. Also this concept of freedom is in accordance with with the Masonic ‘concept of service’. On this ground there is therefore no reason for a hostile attitude against Freemasonry. (13)

And:

In Russia, the lodges are not allowed to exist. In Germany they have dismantled themselves, but some Masonic journals still appear, apparently without hindrance. (14)

Needless to say that Farwerck was to be proven very wrong. Also in the Netherlands lodges were ransacked, buildings confiscated and torn apart or housed with German soldiers. Like we saw, Farwerck left the lodge in 1934, but some people think he used his position in the NSB to help spare lodges of Le Droit Humain. Compared to the Grand Orient of the Netherlands (whose Grand Master of the time died in a camp!), lodges of Le Droit Humain were relatively untouched.

As we saw above, soon after Farwerck joined the NSB, people started to complain about his continuing membership of Freemasonry. Did he only leave on paper, did he not leave at all, are were rumors used to get rid off him? I earlier mentioned a letter that was the direct cause of Farwerck’s dismissal from the NSB. This “friendly letter of the National Council of Freemasonry” (Engel) proved that Farwerck still had contact. Engel also quotes the goodbye speech of Farwerck’s follow-up who says that in september 1933 Farwerck laid down his function as Grand Commander, but he remained vice-chairman of the Supreme Council. It is not clear for how long he did so.

There is something else. Brother Carl (or Willy) is a lot less in the limelight so there is a lot less information about him, but he does seem to have been a member of the NSB as well. Also, when the German forces came to power, he was of the opinion that Freemasonry did not fit in the new regime. He proposed dismantlement of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain, but when the Supreme Council declined his proposition, he, left for that very reason in 1940 together with brother and sister Meerwijk. Five members of the lodge Hiram Abiff did the same, but the name of Carl’ss wife, Johanna, is not under either request for dismissal. It is not like they divorced or anything. Carl passed away in 1964, Johanna in 1992. In her obituary she was named the widow of C.W. Farwerck.

In April 1968 Franz (79 years old) saw something on television that reminded him of his years as a Freemason. He wrote to Le Droit Humain, basically to ask if he could come back. The answer was negative. He tried again in June, July and August of the same year, with the same result. This did not prevent the Grand Commander of the time to write a positive review of Farwerck’s post-mortem published book. Apparently it was Farwerck’s spoiled past (or his person, maybe people who knew him were still member) that was the reason to decline the request.

What is also remarkable is that in the 1940’ies, so years after Farwerck left, the Masonic publishing company republished an earlier article in the form of a booklet (Symboliek see bibliography).

Odd or not, but it was after the end of both his Masonic and political careers, that Farwerck avidly started to publish. The ‘first version’ of his life’s work was published in 1953 on his own publishing house Thule (even though one review says that people who are interested could get the book from the publisher, using the feminine version of the word). Noord-Europese Mysteriën en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid (‘Northern-European Mysteries and Initiations in antiquity’). He even kept his old Masonic pseudonym. In the same year he (also on Thule) published two other books, one with a thin Masonic connection, the other purely about prechristian Masonic symbolism, a marked ‘for Master Masons only’. Another book about initiation saw the light of day in 1960 and, as mentioned, his magnum opus Noordeuropese mysteriën en hun sporen tot heden (‘Northern European mysteries and their traces to the present’) was published just after he died. According to Engel he was still able to approve of the test-prints. Mission accomplished!

Also he did not lose his ‘folkloristic interests’. At the age of 67 he started writing for a periodical called Nehalennia (after a Dutch Germano-Celtic sea Goddess). Early and late March 1965 he gave two lectures. The first about rock carvings in Sweden, the second about “The Spiritual World of our Ancestors”, 76 years of age.

Farwerck’s library

On my searches for information I frequently run into a list of an auction of Farwerck’s library. Since I could not find a copy for myself, I decided to go to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (‘Royal Library’) in Den Haag to see it. A man’s library can say a lot about that person. The list proved to be not an item that you can just take from a shelf and photocopy. It is stored in the department “Special Collections” and you can only see it with nothing more than a pencil and piece of paper with you. So my hope to photocopy it was soon gone.

The catalogue proved to be a well printed and bound paperback book. From 1971, so why is this a “Special Collections” item? The book itself says nothing about the fact that the items under auction used to belong to Franz Farwerck. By the look of it, it could have been any auction. Some titles I can well understand used to be owned by Farwerck. A few titles I recognised since they are sold with Farwerck’s ex-libris in it (for high prices) and I doubt the library would give faulty information. So let us assume that it was indeed a catalogue of books that used to belong to Farwerck. What can the catalogue tell us?

The auction was on May 25th and 26th 1971, so three years after his death. The catalogue is 110 pages and lists 1526 titles. Of course it is impossible to say if this was Farwerck’s entire library. Perhaps it was just what was left of it at the time. A thing I noticed is that there were hardly any expensive items in the list. Farwerck was an art collector who seems to have had the means for his passions. The 1940 fire might have destroyed his books of that time, but he had a couple of decades to start a new collection.

The catalogue has a table of contents. The numbers refer to the number of the item (book) under auction, so you can see how many books Farwerck owned about what subjects:

  • Belief and superstition (1 – 189);
  • Theology (184 – 255);
  • Antiquity (256 – 416);
  • Reference (417 – 429);
  • Bibliography, typography (430 – 482);
  • Philosophy and literature (484 – 765);
  • Fine art (766 – 928);
  • Hunting and shooting (929 – 997);
  • Militaria (998 – 1039);
  • History, politics, geography (1040 – 1173);
  • The Netherlands (1174 – 1301);
  • Varia (1302 – 1526).

The first lemet has a sub-header called “Teutonism” with 29 titles. Not that many when you think about how much Farwerck wrote about that subject. He did own the 1956/7 version of Jan de Vries’ Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte and “nine works” of the same author (apparently not interesting enough to name in full). I found only one title of Georges Dumézil, who I thought had quite some impact on Farwerck’s thinking. Also noteworthy is the fact that I saw only a handful books about Freemasonry. These are from different obediences.

Further Farwerck owned a Festugière translation of the Corpus Hermeticum, a few books of authors such as Arthur Waite and Oswald Wirth. A book of Stephan Schlesinger (who designed his Masonic ex libris), which has been translated and published in the periodical De Swastika (translator unknown, but Farwerck does not seem to have been involved in this prerunner of Bouwsteenen).

Mostly striking I found the vast amount of books on (and from!) early Christian Theology, many titles in Latin. Also under the header “Antiquity” are many titles in Latin. Also Farwerck appears to have had no problems with French and German. Besides Theology there are a few books on mysticism, from old to relatively modern such as Karl von Eckartshausen.

Farwerck owned a lot of ‘books about books’ and books about literature, also about poetry and philosophy, but on the other hand, he also had 50 Medieval texts, usually not originals.

The most expensive title in the catalogue is a 17th century “velum” of a 14th century manuscript called Arda’et (Teachings Of Christ) in an extremely luxury version.

So, did Farwerck loose many / most / all his titles on heathenry and Freemasonry in the 1940 fire and on rebuilding his library his interests had shifted, or would indeed an enormous part of his library never found its way into his writings?

His library sure shows Farwerck to be an intelligent man with varied interest who read in a variety of (classical) languages.

The “Hunting and Shooting” and “Militaria” parts of the auction list contain nothing shocking. Perhaps his WWII library has been cleaned out, or perhaps Farwerck indeed thought to see other things in a part of the movement of that time.

A last remark: only a few of his own books are listed in the catalogue!

Passing

On May 22 1968 Franz passed away. He left behind the widow of his brother (Johanna) and her sons and partners in France and Hilversum.

Reception

You may wonder how Farwerck’s many works were received during his life and after he passed away. I have found several advertisements drawing attention to his works. Especially the prices are highly amusing (I have listed them in the bibliography). There were also newspaper articles such as reviews of Levend Verleden in Utrechts Nieuwsblad October 10 1938. Also Masonic periodicals sometimes had attention for his works, such as the De Vrijmetselaar (‘The Freemason’) in 1953 (Noord-Europese Mysteriën en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid) and 1956 (Noord-Europa een der Bronnen van de Maçonnieke Symboliek). The remarks are always that Farwerck’s approach is “(very) interesting”. Also his last book got some positive reviews (in fact, I have not seen any negative reviews, except reviews speaking of Farwerck’s political past).

End

And here ends my story about Franz Farwerck. For now at least. I hope to find more sources to investigate. If I will, I will update the above again. To close off you will find a few images (click to enlarge). Some I refer to in the text. I have found only two photos of Franz Farwerck, both are from his military time. Below the photos you can find the bibliography with titles of texts/books by Farwerck as far as I know them. I do not own all these texts (yet!) and in the case of periodicals I am going to see if I can also mention the titles of the articles and the issues in which they were published. There is still some work to be done. Below the bibliography you can find the notes.

Franz Farwerck was a zealous man which brought him to some heights, but because he tried to ‘play multiple games of chess’, he also fell deep and hard. This did not prevent him from keep doing what he had in mind: to write a comprehensive investigation about the Teutonic mysteries and show that these mysteries survived into our own day and age.

 

BrandHuisFE1 F.E. Farwerck source Cartoon from 'Volk en Vaderland' 28/10/1933 Het Vaderland 20/06/1937 Bussumsche Couran t27041933 

Mysterien en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid FarwerckExLibris_kl ExLibris_slang_kl Noordeuropese Mysteriën en hun Sporen tot Heden obituary Franz Farwerck

 

Bibliography

  • Bulletin. In 1922 the internal periodical of Le Droit Humain Netherlands was started by H.J. van Ginkel. (Supposedly) many articles by Farwerck were published, especially in his time as Grand Commander (1922-1933);
  • Bouwsteenen voor een veelzijdige en harmonische levens- en wereldbeschouwing driemaandelijks tijdschrift gewijd aan wijsheid en schoonheid (‘Building blocks for a multidimensional and harmonic philosophy and worldview quarterly periodical dedicated to wisdom and beauty’). This periodical was published by the mentioned N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij from 1926 to 1932. It was not an official publication of Le Droit Humain Netherlands. Several texts of Farwerck have been published, some of them have later been republished as small booklets by the same publisher.
    • Symboliek (‘Symbolism’) as F.E.F. 1/1 (1926). Was later also published as a separate booket, year unknown;
    • Inwijding (‘Initiation’) as F.E.F. 2/1 (1926);
    • Rotary as B.J. v.d. Zuylen 3/2 (1928);
    • Het Geheim van het Alphabeth (‘The Secret of the Alphabeth’) as B.J. van der Zuylen 3/3 (1928). Republished, year unknown;
    • Wijsheid (‘Wisdom’) as B.J. v.d. Zuylen 3/4 (1929);
    • Nostrodamus as F.E. Farwerck 4/1 (1929). Republished, year unknown;
    • De Rechte Hoek (‘The Right Angle’), issue unknown;
    • Het Teeken Des Leevens (‘The Sign Of Life’), issue unknown;
    • Oordeel (‘Judgment’) as F.E.F, issue unknown. This library says to lend out an ebook They have it published in “192?”, no publishing house mentioned. I have held another copy in my hand in another library. No year of publication or publisher is mentioned.
  • There were other periodicals with similar titles in the same period. One of them was called Bouwsteenen, algemeen tijdschrift voor symboliek, mysteriewezen, wijsbegeerte, ethiek en kunst. It was published by A.A.W. Santing (who also published about the Rosicrucians). In year six (1931) there is an article by B.J. van der Zuylen called Eenige Opmerkingen (‘Some Remarks’) in which he corrects some notes on the history of Freemasonry in a text of another author that was published in the same periodical earlier;
  • Mysteriën en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid (‘Mysteries and Initiations in Antiquity’) as B.J. van der Zuylen. 1927 N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij. It was later republished by publishing house Schors which republished more titles of N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij. The Schors version is fairly easy to get second hand. The first edition is also available online when I write this;
  • De Hiram-mythe en het 3e rituaal (‘The Hiram-myth and the 3rd ritual’) as F.E. Farwerck. N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij, 1931. Available online when I write this;
  • De kabbalistische opvatting over de natuur van god (‘The kabbalistic concept of the nature of god’) as B.J. van der Zuylen . I only know this title from an entry in the library of the Theosophical Society in Amsterdam. It was published in an unknown year by the N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij, so my guess is this must have been in the 1930’ies, before Farwerck demitted. Probably it was a Bouwsteenen article before;
  • Verlossers (‘Saviors’) as B.J. van der Zuylen, again an N.V. publication from an unknown year which I only know from the Theosophical library;
  • Het Teeken des Levens (‘The sign of life’) by B.J. van der Zuylen. Year unknown, but since it was published by N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij, my guess is 1930’ies. I had never heard of this book until I saw it in a LibraryThing collection;
  • Het systeem in de AASR en de samenhang der 33 graden (‘The system of the AASR and the coherence of the 33 grades’) as F.E. Farwerck. Year of publication and publisher unknown. I only know this book from this LibraryThing entry;
  • De Wolfsangel later Der Vaderen Erfdeel later Volksche Wacht a periodical that was published from (respectively) 1936, 1938, 1939 until 1944 published by the NSB. It contains texts by Farwerck (but anonymous, so it is impossible to say which texts are his). Wolfsangel is available online when I write this, as is Der Vaderen Erfdeel and Volksche Wacht;
  • Het Volksche Element In Het Nationaal Socialisme (‘The folkish element in National-Socialism’) as F. van Schoping, 1937 N.E.N.A.S.U. Available online when I write this;
  • Het is anders dan men ons leerde (‘It was different from what we were taught’) as F.E. Farwerck, 1938 Der Vaderen Erfdeel. Available online when I write this;
  • Levend verleden. (‘Living past’) as F.E. Farwerck. Also published by Der Vaderen Erfdeel (like the previous title) in 1938. This is a magnificent book with many photos, a real Farwerck. The book is fairly well available second hand, but not cheap;
  • Het Kerstfeest vóór Christus’ Geboorte (‘Christmas before Christ’s birth’) as F.E. Farwerck in “Historia” magazine December 24 1940;
  • Onze voorvaderen lieten hun stempel om den Goudsberg (‘Our ancestors left their mark on and around the Goudsberg (lit. ‘Gold-mountain’)’) as F.E. Farwerck from around 1940. The publisher is unknown (probably Der Vaderen Erfdeel). I have not found it second hand, but it can be read online;
  • Wien Neerlandsch Bloed… het rassenvraagstuk en zijn betekenis voor Nederland (‘Whose Dutch blood… the question of race and its meaning for the Netherlands’) as F. van Schoping, 1941 Volk en Bodem (‘Folk and Soil’);
  • Noord-Europese Mysteriën en Inwijdingen in de Oudheid (‘Northern-European Mysteries and Initiations in antiquity’) as B.J. van der Zuylen, a self-published (Thule) work from 1953. This book is not hard to find. After publication it was advertised for ƒ 3,85 (stitched) or ƒ 4,95 (bound);
  • Het teken van dood en herleving en het raadsel van het Angelsaksische runenkistje (‘The symbol of death and resurrection and the riddle of the Anglo-Saxon rune casket’) as F.E. Farwerck, also 1953 Thule. This book is fairly well to find second hand;
  • Noord-Europa, een der bronnen van de Maçonnieke Symboliek (‘Northern-Europe, one of the sources of Masonic symbolism’) as Van der Zuylen, again 1953 Thule. This is Farwerck’s most Masonic work. The book can be found second hand, but you have to be persistent. At the time it was priced ƒ 6,25;
  • Nehalennia a periodical that was published by Thule from 1956 until 1961 and which features articles by Farwerck. He was not part of the editorial staff;
    • Opvattingen over het hiernamaals in de Germaanse Oudheid (‘Concepts of the hereafter in Teutonic antiquity’) I-1, 1956;
    • Sint Jansminne (‘Saint John’s ‘minne”) I-2, 1956;
    • Het geloof in een vaststaand lot (‘Belief in a fixed fate’) I-3, 1956;
    • Het geloof in een vaststaand lot II (‘Belief in a fixed fate II ‘) I-4, 1956;
    • De lentebruid (‘The spring bride’) II-1, 1957;
    • De knoop in de heidense tijd en in het latere volksgeloof’ (‘The knot in heathen times and in later popular belief’) II-2, 1957;
    • De weerwolven (‘The werewolves’) II-3, 1957;
    • Het wilde heir (‘The wild hunt’) II-4, 1957;
    • De geheimen der bouwhutten (‘The secrets of the building lodges’) III-2, 1958);
    • De oudgermaanse tijdrekening en de kertoren van Vries (‘The old Teutonic time reckoning and the churchtower of Vries’) III-3, 1958;
    • De drakenstrijd in mythe, sage, legende en Volksgebruiken (‘The dragon battle in myth, saga, legend and Popular use’) IV-1, 1959;
    • De symboliek der gekruiste benen (‘The symbolism of crossed legs’) IV-3, 1959;
    • De symboliek der gekruiste benen II (‘The symbolism of crossed legs II’) IV-4, 1959;
    • De germaanse drie moeders (‘The teutonic three mothers’) V-1, 1960;
    • Heilige bronnen en wat er nog aan herinnert (‘Sacred wells and what reminds of them’) V-3, 1960;
    • Steenverering in vroegere en latere tijd (‘Veneration of rocks in earlier and later times’) VI-1, 1961;
    • De Externsteine (‘The Externsteine’) VI-2, 1961;
    • De Externsteine (slot) (‘The Externsteine (end)’) VI-3, 1961;
    • Carnaval (‘Carnival’) VI-4, 1961.
    • The 6th year was the last, still, the last issue announces a whole range of upcoming articles, including the following of Farwerck: Oud-Germaanse dichtkunst (‘Old Teutonic poetry’), Bruidstenen (‘Bride stones’), De Irminzuil (‘The Irmin-pillar’), De dans (‘The dance’), Het hert als dodengeleider (‘The dear as guide of the dead’) and Blindheid en de blinddoek (‘Blindness and the blindfold’). Since these titles are very specific, I suppose that they were already written, but for some reason no longer published.
  • De Mysteriën der Oudheid en hun inwijdingsriten (‘The mysteries of antiquity and their rites of initiation’) as F.E. Farwerck, self published (Thule) in 1960 (fairly easy to find);
  • Noordeuropese mysteriën en hun sporen tot heden (‘Northern European mysteries and their traces to the present’) as F.E. Farwerck 1970 Ankh-Hermes, a fairly big new-age publisher. There was a reprint in 1978, but none after that. The second seems to have been a fairly big edition, since the book is not hard to find second hand. At the time it costed a whopping ƒ 85,-.

Notes

(1) Tapijtfabrikant en Dominee (‘Carpet manufacturer and clergyman’) by Hans Hoogenboom in Eigen Perk (‘Own perk’) 2015/3, a publication of the Hilversumse Historische Kring (‘Historic circle Hilversum’). The text is available online (PDF) when I write this;

(2) The autobiography of Inayat Khan can be found on several places on the internet. Here is a link to the passages referred to;

(3) “Mijn belangstelling voor de menselijke rassen werd opgewekt toen ik zestien jaar was, toen ik in een museum de overblijfselen van praehistorische mensen zag. Sindsdien heb ik alle mogelijke wetenschappelijke publicaties hierover bestudeerd. Geleidelijk kwam ik op het standpunt dat de erfelijkheid een grote rol speelde in de menselijke aard en wat daaruit voortvloeide”

(4) Ritman Library had a Hermetic ex-libris exposition. Farwerck had one with an ouroboros and this Facebook post (available when I write this) has some useful information;

(5) De SS en Nederland, documenten uit de SS archieven 1935-1945 deel I, published 1976, available online when I write this.

(6) “In Nederland onthoudt de maçonnerie zich van elke politieke inmenging en houdt zich in hoofdzaak met geestelijke problemen bezig. De gedachte dat men voor zijn medemens moest werken, welke gedachte in vrijmetselarij leeft, dacht ik in praktijk te kunnen brengen in de NSB.

(7) Correspondentie van mr. M.M. Rost van Tonningen deel I, published 1967, available online when I write this.

(8) The politics of Divine Wisdom 1996 Herman de Tollenaere, available online when I write this.

(9) Broeders en Zusters: Honderd jaar Gemengde Vrijmetselarij, published in 2004 to celebrate a century of Le Droit Humain in the Netherlands, written by Ank Engel (then Grand Archivist).

(10) “Zuster A. Kerdijk, die met een Oostenrijkse jood was getrouwd, vroeg al in 1932 om het ontslag van Broeder Farwerck. Zij was zelf niet joods, maar droeg de davidsster uit solidariteit, toen haar man verplicht werd hem te dragen. Beiden stierven in een Duits concentratiekamp.” (p. 51)

(11) “De nieuwe geest, die over Europa waait, heeft een negatieve en een positieve zijde. Zonder er in het minst een beoordeling aan vast te knopen kunnen we dan constateren, dat de stromingen, die zich onder de naam Fascisme of Nationaal-Socialisme aan ons vertonen, gericht zijn tegen de marxistische gedachte van klassenstrijd en internationale verbroedering van het proletariaat, tegen de liberale opvatting van het begrip vrijheid en voor een nationale samenwerking van alle klassen en standen der maatschappij met een ondergeschikt maken van de individuele vrijheid aan de belangen van de gehele natie.” (Engel p. 47)

(12) “Een nationaal-socialistische stroming mag dan in landen als Italië en Duitsland succes hebben, wij Nederlanders bezien de dingen nuchter, lopen niet zo gauw warm. Bovendien, wij houden niet van ‘import’ en is Nederland niet het klassieke land van de ‘vrijheid’? Waarom ons hier dan bezorgd maken over iets dat toch niet zal gebeuren?”

(13) “Men heeft ook in de fascistische staat de vrijheid om zich te ontplooien, zoals men wil, te denken wat men wil, te handelen zoals men wil, mits dat handelen (en dan ook dat handelen alleen) niet tegen het algemeen belang ingaat. Met andere woorden, men mag de vrijheid niet vóór het individueel belang ten koste van anderen misbruiken. Ook dit vrijheidsbegrip is geheel met het maçonnieke ‘dienstbegrip’ in overeenstemming. Ook op deze grond is er dus geen reden voor de vijandige houding, die tegen de Vrijmetselarij wordt aangenomen.”

(14) “In Rusland mogen de loges niet bestaan. In Duitsland hebben ze zichzelf ontbonden, maar een aantal maçonnieke tijdschriften verschijnt nog, blijkbaar zonder belemmeringen.”

Last updated 26 October 2018

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