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The Secretive Lodge. Around Brother Fahrwerck

In April 1935, a text appeared in several newspapers (and a Masonic magazine!) with the intent to smear Farwerck’s name because of him having been Freemason. Nowadays “fake news” is a known description of news that is either entirely fabricated or presented in such a way that the reader is mislead. This is exactly what happens in this text.


The Secretive Lodge. Around Brother Fahrwerck, Maasbode
April 9, 1935.

In the brochure “Ismaël trekt op” (Ishmael moves on), mention is made of the fact, communicated earlier, that the well-known N.S.B. leader Fahrwerck is a Freemason. In a pamphlet of the N.S.B., this fact was denied. With an appeal to Van Term, the pamphlet argues: “One should know that ‘Ordre mixte’ (of which Mr. Fahrwerck was a member before he joined the N.S.B.) is a society that is not recognized and definitely rejected by the official freemasonry, in our country as well as abroad.”
Surely the gentlemen do not get away so easily. The fact is that L’Ordre Mac. Mixte International “Le Droit Humain” was founded in 1892 in Paris by Sr. Maria Deraismes and Bro. Dr. George Martin as a “grande loge symbolique Ecossaise mixte de France” (‘symbolic mixed Scottish Grand Lodge of France’).
Fact is, she did not care about the bans of the Great East and the Grand Lodge of France. It is a fact that it spread quickly in England, Holland, Switzerland and America. It is a fact that the original mixed lodge became the “International Mixed Masonic Order Le Droit humain”.
Fact is, it has thousands of members, is spread in 42 states, and maintains “friendly relations” with other Masonic organisations.
Fact is that this mixed order advocates a very radical program – among other things regarding marriage, divorce and sex education, while also demanding compulsory public school – a program, which in principle does not differ from what ordinary lodges advocate. One can find detailed information in N. Switkow. La Franc-maçonnerie feminine (‘women’s Freemasonry’), Brunoy (S. et. O., Avenue du Parc 15). This booklet reports, that the Grand Master is Lucien Levi, that lieutenant-major commander was the recently deceased Annie Besant, whose portrait with masonic badges the booklet gives twice, while Mr. Fahrwerck is one of the four presidents of the Supreme Council (p. 18).
As such, Mr. Fahrwerck is mentioned again on page 211). Now the N.S.B. pamphlet asserts that Mr. Fahrwerck, before joining the N.S.B., was a member of this Masonic organisation. But Switkow’s booklet dates from 1933. So we are faced with the curious fact that someone who took up one of the highest administrative positions in this “ordre mixte” barely two years ago not only throws away all his spiritual baggage at lightning speed and accepts exactly the opposite in more than one respect, but is just as quickly a leader on the other side. All this is possible, of course.

However, something else is also possible. It could be that Mr. Fahrwerck – like some other Freemasons – has a peculiar way of dealing with “darkies”.

To be clear:

In the “Maconniek Weekblad” (‘Masonic weekly’) of 4 June 1894, 5th series, 4th volume. publisher Br. C. L. Brinkman Amsterdam, Br. J.M. van Tiel wrote that the gentlemen had to be a bit careful with the documents: “Do we realize, B.B., that those yearbooks are so dangerous in the hands of our opponents, not only because of the many names printed in them, but also reports of mag. meetings and the beautiful construction documents, which unfortunately are usually misunderstood by pr. (ofanes) misunderstand (bl. 368). So the gentlemen are not at all fond of having their names and actions known. How then does Mr. Mussert know if among his members are followers of one or another lodge? In the “Bulletin of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands” 5th vol. 1927, p. 141, Mr. Merens from The Hague declares himself against meetings with non-Freemasons: “I see little use in those meetings for profane people, because we have to fool those profane people a little, and we cannot communicate anything of our innermost being”.
Perhaps Mr Mussert is thinking of me? Then he is mistaken. For in the “Maconniek Weekblad” of Saturday 8 January 1916, 65th volume No. 2, pages 24-25, he can read about the funeral of Brother J. R. de Vries of the lodge in Hilversum. Literally it says:

Before the body was taken to the cemetery, the present Rev. Br. K. Westerling, in consultation with Br. v. Vuure, the director of the burial society, quietly called the other Brothers present together and all went to the death room, where the deceased, surrounded by a large collection of flowers, was laid out. With the sign “in order” the Brothers gathered around the coffin, and Br. Kampschuur from Leiden, who had known the deceased very well in Bandung, spoke a short but touching farewell, and when the dull sign of approval had been given, everyone left the death-room in deep silence, without this being noticed by the other relatives and those present. It may be added here that the deceased brother was given his Master’s lapel before the coffin was put on.

Before the body was taken to the cemetery, the officiating Rev. Br. K. Westerling, in consultation with Br. v. Vuure, the director of the burial society, quietly called the other Brothers present together and they all went to the dying room, where the deceased was laid out surrounded by a large collection of flowers. With the sign “in order” the Brothers gathered around the coffin, and Br. Kampschuur from Leiden, who had known the deceased very well in Bandung, spoke a short but touching farewell, and when the dull sign of approval had been given, everyone left the death-room in deep silence, without this being noticed by the other relatives and those present. It may be added here that the deceased brother was given his Master’s lapel before the coffin was closed.

We have underlined some of the words. Perhaps one can see from this that the true brothers – and why would Mr. Fahrwerck
not have been a true brother? – have their own ways of keeping secrets. Why they do it is their business. That they do it is our business. Therefore, the refutation of what is written in “Ishmael moves on” seems extremely weak.


Farwerck indeed held the highest position within the Dutch federation of the mixed gender Masonic organisation Le Droit Humain. Certainly that would have been a problem with more ‘German minded’ people joined the National Socialist Movement, but the text above is a fairly low attempt to make something huge out of that membership.

The initial reply from the N.S.B. was a bit weak: sure, Farwerck was member of a Masonic organisation, but one that is not recognised by the majority. This is true, especially in these days. The “regular” Grand Orient of the Netherlands did (and does) not “recognise” Le Droit Humain (since 1910). Many members were (and some are) opposed to its existence, but others looked friendly upon the new organisation.

The first lowly attack in the article is describing Le Droit Humain France and compare it to “ordinary lodges”. Freemasonry in France was (and is) quite a different thing from Freemasonry in the Netherlands. It is much more focussed on social issues and especially in the time when women didn’t have a whole lot of rights, the mixed gender lodges, but also some of the more ‘progressive’ male lodges, took stand in several social issues.
In the Netherlands this has hardly been the case, neither in mixed gender Freemasonry nor in “regular” Freemasonry. Whereas the original Le Droit Humain in France was “secular” with force, the mixed gender Freemasonry that came to the Netherlands was the Theosophical version of Annie Besant with Bible, with a Grand Architect, etc. The article uses sharp positions in France to not only smear Le Droit Humain in the Netherlands, but indirectly also the Grand Orient.

The whole thing about secrecy is very double as well. In 1933 Freemasonry was forbidden in Germany and lodges were sacked. There was a bigger than life risk that once the Germans would come to be in charge in the Netherlands, the same would happen here. Is it so strange that there are suggestions to stop using full names in publications that may fall into the wrong hands? Not even because there is something to hide, but because of the risk people would run when the authorities would become anti-Masonic. That this was to be true is painfully painted by the fact that the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands did indeed die in a concentration camp.
Besides, the article quotes sources of the Grand Orient as if it is the same as Le Droit Humain.

The same we can say about the description of the Masonic funeral. This is again an example from the Grand Orient, not Farwerck’s organisation and besides all the fuss that was made of it, what was the big problem? The brothers of the deceased said their goodbyes in absence of the family. Massive secrecy! There had to be some sort of dark scheme behind that.

As knock-out, Farwerck must have been a “true brother” according to the authors of the text. I can assure you, these “true brothers” from the quote of the Grand Orient will not have acknowledged Farwerck as a “true brother”. He headed an “unrecognised” organisation. Besides, there was no lodge “around” Farwerck. He joined an existing organisation, climbed in rank and temporarily became chairman. In that capacity he had to answer to France (Le Droit Humain is -contrary to most Masonic organisations- an international organisation).

A typical example of how presenting “facts” and bending them a little to your own advantage, creates the scandal that the authors are after.

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