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Hermann Wirth (1885-1981)

I have suggested a few times that Hermann Wirth could have been one of the inspirations for Farwerck’s interest in ‘things Germanic’.

Hermann Felix Wirth was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands on 6 May 1885, four years before Farwerck. His father was a German who, as Wirth would become, was a musicologist and ‘Germanist’. Wirth’s mother was from Utrecht. His mothers maiden name Roeper was sometimes added to Hermann’s last name.

Wirth studied Dutch language, ‘Germanism’, history and music and graduated in Utrecht. In 1909 (age 24) he became a professor for Dutch language in Berlin. He would keep ties to the Netherlands with organising historic music concerts from 1910 on and an occasional lecture about historical music.

This should suffice to say that it is highly unlikely that it was Wirth who inspired Farwerck to study ‘Germanism’. Even though he had studied it, I have no indication that Wirth published anything in this vein or lectured about such subjects.

Farwerck put me on the wrong foot. In his first ‘full blown Germanic book’ Levend Verleden from 1937, Farwerck has listed Wirth’s famous Die Ura Linda Chronik in the bibliography. For year of publication, he mentions 1893. Wirth would have been 8 years old if that were true! The book was actually first published in 1931 or 1933, not too long before Farwerck’s own book.

The only lecture of Wirth in the Netherlands in Farwerck’s ‘formative years’ that I have found was in Amsterdam in 1912. It was a historical music talk. Not immediately something to spark an interest in things Germanic.

In 1919 Wirth started working for the newspaper De Telegraaf (subject: music). The newspaper has him listed as living in Baarn. That is close to where Farwerck lived at the time (age 30). In 1919 or 1920 Wirth supposedly started some sort of “Folkish” and/or “Wandervögel” group. So his Germanic interests were there.
By 1919 Farwerck had started writing for the internal bulletin of his Masonic order. Nothing German yet. As a matter of fact, he was working on texts about Kabbalah, while Wirth was very critical towards the Jewish cause.

Farwerck and Wirth had differences and things in common. As we know, Wirth stood at the cradle of the Ahnenerbe while Farwerck did the same in the Netherlands with the Dutch counterpart Der Vaderen Erfdeel. Both were interested in history, things Germanic and things esoteric. On the other hand, especially since the Ura Linda Chronik Wirth was reviled as a scholar and Farwerck often stayed away from scholars that are regarded too unserious to other scholars. Wirth is mentioned in no bibliography of Farwerck after Levend Verleden (1937) until his posthumously published ‘magnum opus’ (1970).

It is quite likely that the two have met, or even knew each other but I have not yet found any evidence for that. If Wirth had anything to do with Farwerck moving in ‘Germanic directions’ is still not impossible.

There are a few nice coincidences which are fun mentioning.

In 1912 a music periodical writes about the lecture mentioned above. The name of the magazine is “Caecillia”, just like the villa that the Farwerck family bought that year in Hilversum.

While living in Germany, Wirth enlisted for the army and he was stationed in Flanders, There he made a case for Flemish folk music, literature and he most particularly focussed on Rene LeClerq, the poet to whom Farwerck with others (including LeClerq’s daughter) dedicated a society in 1939.

And could the 1933 edition of Wirth’s Ura Linda Chronik have inspired Farwerck for his Levend Verleden design?

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