Rotary

As we saw, Farwerck had certain social idea(l)s. It seems that the Rotary Club was perfect for him in this regard.

“Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.”

Says Wikipedia (accessed 7/9/19) about Rotary International.

There we have Farwerck in a nutshell. A business leader who wants to “work for the fellow man” and has already done so in numerous workers’ committees. I totally understand how he saw opportunities when the first Rotary Clubs in the Netherlands were started in 1924 in Amsterdam and Utrecht.

Late 1927 a few people pick up the idea to start a Rotary Club in Hilversum. Those involved were Farwerck, E.M. Jaarsma and M. Moltzer. Jaarsma we run into more often in connection to Farwerck. It was his almost-neighbour on whose fireplace factory some archaeological findings were done. His father was also named Everhardus Mennus Jaarsma and it is after him that the factory was named. Junior lived from 1883 to 1962, his father from 1845 to 1917. The factory started in Friesland, but moved to Hilversum in 1904. Two years later junior became both financial and artistic director.
In 1 December 1927 the group was enriched with Geert van Mesdag. About a month later A.R. Buwalde, P.J. van Dam, G. van Duyl and J.H.M.M. de Rode making a group of nine.

On 19 Januari 1928 Farwerck held a plea to come to an organisation to aid feeble minded children after school age.

In February lawyer H.F.H. Wilbrink Heisema joined and Van Dam leaves. A month later banker J.J.W. Scholten and B.C. Rozenbeek joined and also shortly a judge named N.J. van der Ley.

The first year and a half there wasn’t yet the number of lectures that would characterize the Club in later years, but the members used the time to get to know each other better. What did happen was the start to prepare for what was to become the museum.

Frits van der Vliet, H. Gorter and H.F.C. Dubous made the Club of 15 members, which was the time when the Hilversum Club could join the Dutch Rotary.

The installation took place on 31 May 1928. 13 Of the members and 12 guests were present. Van Duyl suggested the Club to ask for membership at Rotary International. A board was formed which contains a new name: Verschuyl. Farwerck was elected treasurer, the hardest job according to a welcome speech.
During the installation songs and images were made for the members. What was made for Farwerck can be found here.

Van Duyl is preacher Gerrit van Duyl (1888-1952), a very early N.S.B. member who brought Farwerck in contact with fellow Rotarian Anton Mussert, the founder of the N.S.B. Apparently Farwerck and Van Duyl weren’t (always) on too good terms, since Van Duyls supposedly started an anti-Masonic campaign in 1937 within the N.S.B. with the apparent reason to get rid of Farwerck.

Much of the above comes from a book that was published to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Club (1).

Hoogenboom places the Rotary very central in Farwerck’s life and network. He refers to a book published in 1954 about the first years of the Hilversum Club. I would love to find a copy of this book, but I haven’t yet. What I did find are some other books, one quoted above, another about “Rotary before, during and after the Second World War” (2). Farwerck bound to be in it, right?

Not as much as I hoped. The first time he is mentioned is as a Freemason, nothing about him being a “Rotarian”. The author also writes about the N.S.B. without mentioning that the founder of this movement, Anton Mussert, was a “Rotarian” too. Both points are made later though.

The Hilversum Club is written about for having serious problems when the N.S.B. was founded. Even though Mussert, Van Duyl (see above) and Farwerck, main men of the early N.S.B., were members, “fortunately” but a few Rotarians joined the N.S.B. Of course there were some. Hilversum had three and this pretty much sickened the club. People stayed away trying to avoid these members. There were arguments at lunches. The formerly very friendly Club was obviously split in two. Even though the chairman was of the opinion that no actions should be taken against members of the N.S.B. “no matter how close they are to the leader” (obviously referring to Farwerck and Van Duyl), the rest of the board disagreed. All this caused one member to leave the N.S.B. because he preferred to remain a “Rotarian”, another did the opposite, he left the Club to remain within the N.S.B. (I guess this is Van Duyl), the third did nothing: Farwerck “who kept playing a remarkable role in the club” (p. 38).

Farwerck gave an introduction during a New Year’s meeting, for example, in January 1938 and had ‘many appreciated talks’. In spite his political preference he was highly regarded as a person and because of his capacities, ‘a blinded, but not an evil man’. He remained a member until early June 1940.

As with Freemasonry, the Rotary was forbidden and hunted down after the occupation by the Germans in May 1940. Farwerck was already in a tight spot because of his former Masonic membership and I guess he thought it wise to leave the Rotary too.
I don’t know if Farwerck tried to join again after the war, but De Jaeger describes how the Rotary tried to start things up again after the war. There were ‘cleansings’ and refusals for members to return, so my guess is that Farwerck wouldn’t have been allowed to, had he wanted to return.

In the second issue of the third year of the periodical Bouwsteenen (see bibliography) Farwerck wrote about the Rotary. This was in 1928, the year that he help to start the Hilversum Club. He calls the members “idealistic” “businessmen”.
In the year 1929/30 Farwerck and Gorter had a talk about Freemasonry for their Rotary Club.

In his Rotary article, Farwerck describes how mankind became more and more materialistic, especially after the French Revolution and when this “crisis” was deep, people started to find appeal in the mottos “Service above self” and “He profits most, who serves best.” He gives a history of the Rotary, writes about the ten duties and his enthusiastic writing makes clear that he wholeheartedly endorses the principles of the Rotary.

It seems he really was an idealistic business man. Too bad that he misjudged the political party that he joined, which almost eight years of membership, ruined most of his other efforts.

When you look at it, Farwerck’s membership of the Rotary was also only 12 years. It is true, his Rotary network got him into the N.S.B., allowed him to work for troubled children and his fellow man, brought the network that created the local museum that he so much wanted and probably brought him some lifelong friends, but 12 years of membership, how big an effect on his life can they have been?

More can be said about Farwerck’s membership of the Rotary, but I’ll have to find more information in order to do so.


(1) Rotary Club Hilversum 1928 – 1988 by D. Roest, 1988

(2) Rotary vóór tijdens en ná de Tweede Wereldoorlog by D.M. de Jaeger, Amsterdam 2003

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