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Lost writings

In the bibliography I mention titles that appear to be lost and writings that never saw the light of day.

Lost books?

Farwerck was active in a local archaeological group. He even was one of the founders. In 1979 in the annual report (1), the group lists “literature”, “List of books of the society.” See below. Five titles by Farwerck are mentioned, none I know!

Another founder of the same group, Siem Pos (1916-2001), is said to have been a long time friend of Farwerck. It could be that not the group, but rather Pos, was the owner of these titles. Pos’ library supposedly scattered after his passing (as did Farwerck’s).

Even though the head says “books”, the titles actually suggest articles. “Vries I en II” (1 and 2) and “Volksgebruiken I, II en III” (1, 2 and 3) could be essays planned to be printed in two and three issues of, for example, the periodical Westerheem that the local archaeological group published since 1952 (2). Then again, Farwerck published only one text in Westerheem in 1954. Why would he have five (or even eight when you count the separate parts) texts ready in the year after his death and none published in between?

It seems that in 1979 the first annual report was published, so the titles could have been in Pos’ possession longer and they were still waiting for a fitting issue. In the annual report of 1980, Farwerck’s ‘books’ are still mentioned as they are in 1981. Farwerck himself is not mentioned in the member lists in the backs of the annual reports.

What is also odd, I can find no references to Farwerck’s passing in Westerheem. There are “necrologies” of other people in the magazine, but none of Farwerck. Also there are no mentions of him in retrospects of passed years. Was the founder of the group already so far gone in the memories of the members? Not of all I suppose, as Siem Pos was still an active member.

Perhaps the titles were never meant for Westerheem. They are not very archaeological. The titles are more fitting for Nehalennia, the magazine that Farwerck himself helped publishing between 1956 and 1961. Perhaps Pos found them not fitting for Westerheem and later the idea for Nehalennia dawned. If that is the case, both Farwerck and Pos held on to the titles for 20 years after which they disappeared and Farwerck did not find them (all) fitting for Nehalennia either.

That this is still a possible answer to the question shows by the fact that Nehalennia kept listing future articles up until the last issue:

  • Oud-Germaanse dichtkunst (‘Old Teutonic poetry’);
  • Bruidstenen (‘Bridal stones’);
  • De Irminzuil (‘The Irmin-pillar’);
  • De dans (‘The dance’);
  • Het hert als dodengeleider (‘The dear as guide of the dead’);
  • Blindheid en de blinddoek (‘Blindness and the blindfold’).

These are also texts that do not appear to have been made available elsewhere. The other way around, two of the titles mentioned in the annual report (Tijdrekeningen en Maandnamen (‘Chronologies and the names of the months’) and Vries (about the bell tower in the village called Vries) could well have been combined (and rewritten) into: De oudgermaanse tijdrekening en de kerktoren van Vries (‘The old Teutonic time reckoning and the church tower of Vries’) which can be found in the III-3, 1958 issue of Nehalennia. About “Volksgebruiken” (‘folk customs’) he would also publish more later.

If that is true, we are talking about texts that Farwerck wrote in his most productive period in the 1950’ies and they remained in the possession of Siem Pos for at least three decades. In 1979 he still found them worth mentioning as literature in the possession of the Naerdincklant group (so I suppose they were not just a pack of paper), but the passing of the author could not be referred to.


There is more. Farwerck also announced books that never seem to have been published:

In Noord-Europese mysteriën en inwijdingen in de oudheid published in 1953, five titles were announced to appear next in the series. These titles have never seen the light of day, at least, not under these titles:

  • Het teken van dood en herleving in verleden en heden (‘The sign of life and resurrection in the past and present’) (in the same year a little book was published with a similar title, but a very different design);
  • Het symboliek der Vrijmetselarij vergeleken met die der heidens-Germaanse mannenbonden (‘The symbolism of Freemasonry compared with that of the heathen-Germanic men-bonds’) (two years later a book with a very different title, but a similar subject and design was published);
  • Het begrip dood en herleving in de oudheid in Noord-Europa in mythe en volksgebruiken (‘The concept of death and resurrection in antiquity in Northern-Europe in myth and folk-customs’);
  • Boom- en zuilvereering in vroege en later tijd (‘Tree and pillar worship in earlier and later times’);
  • De geheimen der bouwhutten en het Romaanse kerkje te Vries (‘The secrets of the buildings huts and the Roman church in Vries’) (a text about the church if Vries was published in Nehalennia in 1958, see above and two books called “Vries” were in the possession of an archaeological group, also see above);

The 1960 book is a part I of what was supposed to be a series. Part I is about “mysteries” and ‘rites des passages’. Other parts would deal with specific mysteries, quite like the first book. These other parts were never published.

What are we to make of this?

Where does this bring us? Did Farwerck have articles and books ready that were never published and even disappeared after his passing? Were the titles ideas that Farwerck had in his head, but that not yet materialized? Or perhaps ideas that got another form as he went along?

The latter is partly plausible. The ‘symbolism of Freemasonry’ title could have become ‘Northern Europe, one of the sources of Masonic symbolism’. Other titles could have found their way into the new journal Nehallennia. Perhaps he even kept his notes for his last and largest work.

Again the latter is not entirely true. Sure, in Noordeuropese Mysteriën en hun Sporen tot Heden “limping” is mentioned and “the last” could refer to blow of the hammer. Page 537 even mentions both on the same page, but so short that only a few sentences would have survived of an earlier written text.
On the other hand, I find no ‘bridal stones’ in Noordeuropese Mysteriën or elsewhere. Runes are mentioned, but scattered through the book. These sections do not suggest coming from an existing text.

Then of course there are the books owned by Siem Pos. There are no such titles in the auction catalogue of Farwerck’s library. It would be weird even if these were just typed and stapled packs of papers, that he didn’t have a copy himself. Maybe not all his possessions were auctioned, but was the rest just thrown away got lost in another manner? Also, as I mentioned, even after possibly decades of having them in his possession, Pos seems to have found the titles ‘book enough’ to mention them in the lists of possessions of his archaeological group.

It is fairly save to say that work of Farwerck has been lost (at least until now). It is impossible to say ‘how ready’ all these titles were, but the Naerdincklant mentions strongly suggest that these were actual objects. Does that mean that there are still works of Farwerck that we have to hunt for?

(1) AWN Naerdincklant Jaarverslag 1979 can be found online (accessed 13 December 2023)
(2) Registers 1952-1991 can be found online (accessed 13 December 2023)

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