The question of the Jews

This is a difficult subject. Difficult in several ways. First it seems that writing about Farwerck and the Jewish question, there is only black or white. Some authors seem to want to try to prove that Farwerck was a radical antisemite, while others almost play down the notion.

The other reason is that Farwerck is not too clear about where he stood, at least, not clear enough for our own day and time.

Hoogenboom (see note 1 of the biography) writes:

It is logical that he – with his ambition and background – floated up as leader of this folkish current. It was a radical opinion. Farwerck gives a pass for antisemitism. Because Jews were also foreign to our people in his opinion. (1)

Which is true. Farwerck did say that Jews are “volksvreemd” (‘foreign to our people’) and I immediately believe that people with antisemitic leanings will have found substantiation in Farwerck’s idea.

Eickhoff (see note 16 of the biography) is much stronger in his wordings:

Farwerck explicitly wrote that one has to discard of ‘all foreign components’, with which he particularly referred to the Jews that lived in the Netherlands. (2)

I can’t shake the idea that Eickhoff has ‘an agenda’. It could be that his thinking is like: Farwerck was member of the NSB, so he must have been antisemitic and I will find this in his writings’. Even if he is not entirely untrue, Farwerck was never so radical as Eickhoff suggests.

Eickhoff mainly bases his ideas on a little book and I think Hoogenboom has used it too. It is a booklet published in 1937, so probably written a bit earlier. 1937 Was the year that Farwerck’s problems within the NSB really started. He was ‘demoted’ from his function of head of Propaganda, exposures of his former Masonic membership started to become stronger and stronger. But it was also the year that he got to helm the folkish investigation group Der Vaderen Erfdeel, which is probably exactly what he always hoped for.

The said booklet may have been mostly meant for the folkish group that had gathered around Farwerck. The booklet is called Het Volksche Element In Het Nationaal Socialisme or ‘the folkish element in National-Socialism’. In the biography I call this one of Farwerck’s two political books. I actually started to read it hoping for clues about his ‘spiritual ideas’, since the booklet seems to be unlikely personal. Then I ran into the sentence that both Hoogenboom and Eickhoff probably use for their respective arguments, it is in the beginning of the said book:

In the cities however, a certain mix grew with the settling of elements that do not belong to our people. In the first place this were the Jews.

So yes, Farwerck saw Jews foreign to our people, but he doesn’t say that we should “discard” these elements as Eickhoff has it.

In the booklet Farwerck (using the pseudonym “F. van Schoping”) writes a lot about “race”, also “purity of race”. He starts with saying that the Dutchmen are actually no longer a “people” (/”folk”), but a “collection of people” (or “a collection of men”, in Dutch the difference is clearer, “volk” versus Farwerck’s term “menschenverzameling”), so he prefers the word “nation”. The reason for this opinion is that Dutchmen are no longer of the same race. Many different races live within the borders. Each race not only has its physical peculiarities, but also mental and (even though he doesn’t use the word) cultural. He writes quite strongly about the mixing of races claiming that typical elements (physical, mental, cultural) will be watered down. The import of other cultures also brought ideas into the Netherlands that are foreign to our people (“volksvreemd”). This resulted in egalitarianism which in Farwerck’s opinion is merely the smoothing out of differences. This can only result in confusion, degeneration and in the end, the end of a civilization.

Farwerck proposes that the Dutch again be proud of their Germanic past and prevent pollution of our “folk”. Obviously, there is a word for such ideas.

We could leave it with this and say that Farwerck and his idea should be avoided. Things are not so simple.

As we saw in the biography, Farwerck had the cover of his first book and his Masonic ex libris design by a Jew (Stephan Schlesinger). They were probably on friendly terms. Also, in the mentioned booklet he writes:

One with our race will we see as our highest ideal, without this meaning contempt or hate for other races. Somebody, who is proud about his own race, has no need for feeling such feelings towards other races.

Probably still too radical for many of us today, but still.

The word “Jew” is only mentioned once in the booklet. One other occasion has “Jewish”. It almost seems as if this particular question didn’t interesting Farwerck enough.

There is an NSB “brochure IV” which seems to have been written by Farwerck. It speaks of three kinds of Jews, two of which can be members of the NSB. When antisemitism grew in the NSB, a Jewish member asked Farwerck for help. I guess this means that Farwerck was known for not being negative towards Jews. He even wrote about the incident to Mussert (leader of the NSB) and said that not everybody worked accordingly the mentioned brochure.

Unfortunately I don’t know from what year the brochure is. My guess is 1935. It has a chapter about “How does the NSB see the Jews?” Page 26 says that the NSB does not allow causing points of disagreements by researching member’s ‘non-Aryan’ blood. There are races “of the spirit” rather than races “of the blood”. Then again, the Dutch race of the spirit does not in the Jews that feel themselves a single race. Then follow the three kinds of Jews. First there are “Dutch feeling Jews”. “They are Dutchmen to us. They form no problem.” Second there are “Orthodox Jews, who isolate themselves, because they are called by God to do so.” “Because we also think we should obey God and only then humans […] we accept them in their separation.” The third type of Jews are those “who have no part in our national thought, because national for them does not mean Dutch but Jewish, and such not because of religious convictions, but from race-impulses.”

“For Zionists there is no place within the N.S.B.” No other action is described.

We also know that when the staunch antisemite Rost van Tonningen joined the NSB and tried to influence the course of the party, him and Farwerck became fierce enemies.

Taken the previous together I think we can say that Farwerck had some pretty radical ideas that nowadays would have brought him serious problems. For his own time, at least in the circles that he frequented, he was not radical enough. I think that he preferred to see races separated (perhaps even in their own countries), but he did respect other races, so much even that some NSB members called him a Jew-lover and communist.

Like I said, I started to read Het Volks Element to look for elements of non-political views on the world and they seem to be there, so that will be a source for another article. The booklet is (in spite the title) by and far not as political as I expected and is actually a quite interesting and personal look into Farwerck’s idea. It is not a title that you’re going to make friends with today of course.

(1) Logisch dat hij – met zijn ambitie en achtergrond – kwam bovendrijven als leider van deze volkse stroming. Het was een radicale denkwijze. Farwerck gaf hiermee een voorzet voor het antisemitisme. Want joden waren wat hem betreft in principe ook volksvreemd.

(2) Farwerck schreef expliciet dat men zich moest ontdoen van ‘alle vreemde bestanddelen’, waarmee hij vooral refereerde aan de in Nederland wonende joden.

(3) In de steden daarentegen is tot op zekere hoogte een vermenging ontstaan met zich daar vestigende, niet tot ons volk behoorende, elementen. In de eerste plaats waren dit de Joden.

(4) Eén met ons ras zullen wij daarin ons hoogste ideaal zien, zonder dat dit een verachting van of haat voor andere rassen insluit. Iemand, die fier op zijn eigen ras is, heeft er geen behoefte aan dergelijke gevoelens ten opzichte van andere rassen te koesteren.

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