Author Archives: Roy

Theosophy

Because this subject is so elusive, it is fascinating. Some serious digging makes it very likely that Farwerck indeed was active in Theosophical circles.

By the time that Farwerck was active the Dutch branch has been around for a while. There is information about these early days, but two decades down the line is less interesting and thus less well documented.

The Dutch branch does start with an interesting name: Petronella Catharina Meulenman-Van Ginkel, who named herself “Piet”, a men’s name. P.C. Meuleman was a psychic who held seances which brought her a small following. She was an active woman who not only stood at the cradle of the group of activists fighting for the right to vote for women, but also at the federation of vegetarians which Farwerck joined decades later.

It is indeed a generation earlier that we are talking about. Meuleman was born in 1841 and passed away in 1902. Her maiden name was Van Ginkel, a name we run into more often. H.J. van Ginkel (1880-1954) initiated Farwerck into Freemasonry, published some of his works and he himself was a Theosophist and was one of the first of a group of Dutch Theosophists that became co-Masons. So what is the relation between P.C. Meuleman and H.J. van Ginkel?

Cornelis Yzak van Ginkel (1802-1888) was married to Peternella Catharina Hensen (1802-1853). A son of theirs is Marinus Hendrikus Anthonie van Ginkel (1844-?), the father of H.J. van Ginkel. A daughter of theirs was P.C. Meuleman-van Ginkel. P.C. Meuleman was H.J. van Ginkel’s aunt. Theosophy ran in the family.
It was in P.C. Meuleman’s house that the first meetings took place to come to a Dutch branch of the Theosophical Society.

Do we have names that we can connect to Farwerck more directly? Not really. The ‘real initiator’ of Theosophy in the Netherlands was Adalberth de Bourbon who was in contact with Olcott and Blavatsky in the 1880’ies. Then there is Thomas van Stolk, Edward Brooke, L.L. Plantenga, Tegel, Meuleman’s husband, Fricke, Immerzeel and then a familiar name Wierts van Coehoorn. This is all quite well described (1), but of course this is all in the time around Farwerck’s birth. So at best we find the parents of people from Farwerck’s circle here.

The name Coehoorn van Wierts appears among the names of the Theosophists who were initiated into mixed gender Freemasonry by Annie Besant.

We now have an indication of how H.J. van Ginkel came to Theosophy (probably since his youth), but nothing about Farwerck. There are some indications that Farwerck was involved too though:

He was involved in things ‘around’ Dutch Theosophy, such as:

  • Mixed gender Freemasonry (from 1911);
  • Universal Sufism (from 1921);
  • Federation of vegetarians (unknown).

The book The Politics of Divine Wisdom bluntly says that he was active in Theosophy. Almost all of his writings are available in the Theosophical library in Amsterdam, also very small publications. In his first book The Secret Doctrine is in the bibliography. His brother refers to Blavastsky. Franz shared the board of directors of the Leerdam Glass Factory with P.M. Cochius (1874–1938) who was a Theosophist, Freemason and Rotarian. Perhaps here we have a link to the Theosophical Society.

Then of course he has been initiated into Freemasonry by a Theosophist. Did he know Van Ginkel before his initiation?

Chronologically it makes sense if Farwerck became active in Theosophical circles or at least got to know Theosophists and his other alliances started there. He would have joined in a difficult time. When he was about 20, there were problems around Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) and in 1912 Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) split off to form the Anthroposophical Society.

Finally I have found two strong indications that Farwerck indeed was active in Theosophical circles.

On the left you see a page from the periodical of “The Order Of The Star In The East” that was active between 1911 and 1927. This order was founded from within the Theosophical Society to welcome the new “Messiah” in the form of Krishnamurti. The fact that Farwerck is mentioned as a ‘local secretary’ (for Rotterdam with an address in Amsterdam) raises the suggestion that Farwerck was more on the ‘Besant side’ of the discussion than the ‘Steiner side’. The fact that he was involved in this order makes if very likely that he also was active in the mother organisation, the Theosophical Society.

This suggestion is strengthened by a newspaper announcement from November 12th 1918 in which the Theosophical Society in Hilversum announced “a new course for interested parties by mister Farwerck”. Willy Farwerck only moved from Amsterdam to Hilversum in 1943 so it is likely that this is Franz. On the other hand, in 1917 Willy was initiated into Franz’ Masonic lodge in Hilversum, so he was around often.

Speaking about Steiner. There was a Theosophist Erns Louis (Tenno) Selleger (1876-1967) who was director of a paper factory and who invented thin paper to use for Bibles. He was an active promotor for freethinkers and in his house in Bergen he welcomed an impressive range of people from Carmen Silva (queen of Romania) to Inayat Khan and … Krishnamurti and Steiner. Not all at once for sure, but here we have another interesting spider in a web. Farwerck and Selleger were both committee members of the Leerdam Glass Factory in 1930 of which another Theosophist, P.M. Cochius (who married Selleger’s daughter) was director until 1933, so they knew each other. Perhaps Selleger got Farwerck acquainted with Theosophy? Selleger already was a Theosophist when he married in 1905 and he started the paper factory shortly after 1907. In 1911 Farwerck got his first appointment as director (of a brown coal factory). Perhaps they met in these circles? The glass factory that links the three men was founded in 1891. Cochius became director only in 1912 and the combination of the three names is only in 1930.

Strong suggestions, but I prefer a little more certainty. Also I would like to know if this Theosophical phase already started before 1911 when he was initiated into Freemasonry.


(1) Gibbels

Coué foundation

In 1924 Farwerck was involved in yet another activity, a foundation to spread the ideas of Emile Coué (1857-1926). “King of the subconciousness” Coué himself came to Hilversum to speak. Farwerck, chairman of the new foundation, also spoke at that gathering.

In a shorter newspaper article other names involved in this foundation are mentioned. Some will start to sound familiar. Emil Luden (1863-1942) was another of the founders of the Goois Museum. J.L.C. van Meerwijk (1873-1948) was a familiar of Farwerck on several other occasions, Theosophy Freemasonry, Sufism.

There was another news article about the foundation and this one gives many more names. Most notably C.W. Farwerck. A long, long list follows:

J. Helder (Den Haag), C.W.Th. van den Brandhof (Den Haag), A.J. van den Brandhof-Dekker (Den Haag), D. de Clercq (Noordwijk), A. de Clercq-van Weel (Haarlem), M.L. Diemont-Luden (Ginneken), G.W. Eekhout (Amsterdam). A.G. Eekhout-van Andringa de Kempenaer (A’dam), G. Espeet (Bussum), Grenfell-Besse van Ittersum (Brummen), L.S. van den Heuvel tot Beichlingen gezegd Bartolotti Rijnders-Dijkhoff (Den Haag) Paul Hugenholtz van Heemstra (Den Haag), G. Posthumus Meyes (Ellekom) H.O. Posthumus Meyes-Hovy (Ellekom), J.T.J. Noyon-Neurdenberg (Ellekom), S. van Olden-Westenberg (Den Haag), Besse Schimmelpenninck van der Oije-Huyssen van Kattendijke (Doorn), F. Teding van Berkhout sr (Haarlem), S.W. Teding van Berkhout van Taack.

So how big exactly was this foundation? The newspaper article also mentions the professions of some people. Quite some high-placed people and again also some nobility.

Besides the ones I already mentioned most names are new. Well, not all. Two times “de Clerq” is mentioned. In 1939/40 Farwerck and the oldest daughter of poet René de Clerq started an organisation to safe the poets legacy. This oldest daughter was called Elza and lived in St. Niklaas, Belgium, so perhaps (distant) relatives?

Farwerck must have had quite a network for all his projects with not the least people.



Rotary

As we saw, Farwerck had certain social idea(l)s. It seems that the Rotary Club was perfect for him in this regard. I hope to find the information to investigate this aspect of Farwerck more properly, but for now I will just ‘open the subject’.

In the biography I say that Farwerck was one of the people who started a Club in Hilversum in 1928. According to Hoogenboom (see note 1 of the biography) some of the others were Geert van Mesdag (who would later help with the museum) and A.M. Jaarsma (dito).

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Social ideas

In the biography I quote Hans Hoogenboom (see first note there) who quotes the post-war investigation report of Polak in which Farwerck says:

In the Netherlands Masonry keeps away from all political interference and mainly occupies itself with spiritual matters. The idea that one has to work for the fellow man, which lives in Freemasonry, I hoped to be able to practice in the NSB. 

Continue reading

New on this website

Okay, so I forget to update this category. A quick overview:

  • July 23th I looked into the Sammlung Thule;
  • August 7th the ‘Nehalennia crew‘;
  • August 9th when looking for more images I found a couple of interesting things;
  • August 18th. Wondering who lived on the alternative address of Farwerck’s publishing house I tried to find out “who was mrs. Farwerck?“;
  • Augustus 30th I took a look at Franz’ brother;
  • September 2nd. Finding looking into the ‘Nehalennia crew’ interesting I pointed my arrows to the Goois Museum;
  • September 4th. Farwerck seems to have been a Sufi.

Mureed Farwerck

Another underlighted aspect of Farwerck: he was member of the Universal Sufism order of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1972).

In the biography of Khan I had found a reference to “de heer Farwerck” not knowing if this was Franz or his brother, I mentioned this in passing in the biography. There is a Dutch website about the order, particularly in the Netherlands, which has some more information.

Continue reading

Stichting Museum Het Gooi en Omstreken

After having had a look at the ‘Nehalennia crew‘ to see what kind of people Farwerck worked with for his periodical, I thought to jump back in time. An under-lighted aspect of Farwerck is his interest in archaeology and local history, but he has been very active in these fields for many years. Some light can possibly be shed when we have a look at the foundation of the Museum Het Gooi en Omstreken, since Farwerck did not live in a vacuum. “Het Gooi” is the area where Farwerck lived. The museum was named after that area and its surroundings (“omstreken”). The short name of the museum was “Goois Museum”. The museum still exists, but is nowadays called Museum Hilversum.

Continue reading

Who was Mrs. Farwerck?

In “Farwerck by his writings” I say:

The publishing house is “Thule” which, in his biography, I list as his own publishing house. That is quite obvious, because Thule has Farwerck’s home address, but at one time another address on the other end of Hilversum, the place where he used to live, is mentioned. I also noticed an advertorial for one of these books, saying that the book can be obtained from the publisher, using the feminine version of the word! So why, and to whom, did he temporarily move his publishing house? That is something I have not yet figured out.

Here is what I figured out so far.

Continue reading