Category Archives: about Farwerck

Farwerck the photographer

In the biography I say that for a long time Farwerck travelled a lot for his work and he used the occasions to make photographs that later appeared in his books. Then I thought to see if he gives sources for his images to check if this is true. He does.

In his final work, Farwerck has two-and-a-half pages with sources for his images. This list contains book titles and then the numbers for the images that he used are mentioned. So you get for example: “Richard Beitl Deutsche Volkskunde, Berlin 1933: 49, 61” Yes I said two-and-a-half pages with such lines, so that are a lot of sources. One such line is for Farwerk himself. 15 Images out of 265 are photos shot by himself. A line up, two photos of “F. de Fremery, Hilversum” are mentioned.

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Belief

In 1928, Reverend Van Duyl and carpet manufacturer Farwerck got to know each other closely. Not through religion, because Farwerck was not religiously active anywhere. On a spiritual level, he was completely and exclusively committed to (mixed-gender) freemasonry. (1)

Thus says Hans Hoogenboom (2). By now we know that this is not true. In 1921 Farwerck was active in the very spiritual Universal Sufism order. Also we have very strong suggestions that Farwerck was active in the Theosophical Society. Both are far more spiritual than the Masonic order that Farwerck was member of. In basis at least. Freemasonry is a system of symbolism that every member can interpret in his/her own way. Le Droit Humain in Farwerck’s time was very Theosophical (that could be how he got to know of mixed gender Freemasonry), but Farwerck joined the first ‘non-Theosophical’ lodge. Perhaps he did interpret the system ‘Theosophically’, but that is something I have no indications of.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Continuity?

The ancient North had its mysteries, like the more famous mysteries in the Middle East. Farwerck has collected many details based on which he sketches the possible rites. An element of the “Männerbünde” is the dressing in animal skin. Names such as Berserkr (‘bear skin wearers’) and Ulfhednar (‘wolf skin wearers’) say as much. Or what about deer skin? There is a famous drawing from the 1920’ies by Henri Breuil. A sketch he made of a rock carving from 13.000 BCE that he found in Arièges, France. The drawing is not undisputed. Some people say that the antlers sprang from the man’s imagination. Did the toes and fingers too? The image is called “the sorcerer” by some, which suggests that this is actually a man in disguise. Farwerck was of the same opinion and used this drawing as proof of early animal skin wearing. (Other investigators see the image as an animal spirit by the way).

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Franz Farwerck on remnants of Männerbünde

I wrote this article in 2013/4 for an upcoming issue of Northern Traditions that I doubt will ever appear after all these years, so I decided to publish it here.

When the Christianisation, at least the external, of the German tribes was completed, the proceedings of the men-bonds were initially continued. They could be divided into two groups, rites of initiation, which were more or less secret and the public proceedings, which sprang from views that were grounded in the initiations. Of these initiations, […] we find only  traces in later periods, enough though to determine their existence. We mostly know the public proceedings because of ecclesiastic prohibitions, but also from many remnants that have survived in folkways. (2)

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