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about Farwerck

The auction of Farwerck’s library

Several years ago I visited the Dutch Royal Library for a few of my investigations, one being Farwerck. The Royal Library has most of Farwerck’s publications, including the smaller books that I’ve never found for my own library. Also it contains correspondence between Willy Farwerck and Georges Zorab, but most interestingly, the catalogue of the auction of Farwerck’s library (or so I thought) on May 25th and 26th 1971, three years after he passed away.

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Torenlaan 8

I don’t remember where I found it, but I have a photo or scan of a hand written letter of Farwerck in which he asks the local government permission for the expansion of Torenlaan No. 8 where he lives.

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Ons Eigen Volk / Our Own People

After all these years I still run into new publications in which Farwerck has published. This time a periodical named “Ons Eigen Volk”, meaning “Our Own People”. The title immediately suggests that it is one from the “Völkish” milieu.

“Ons Eigen Volk” was published by the “Nederlands Volkskundig Genootschap” or “Dutch Folkloristic Society”. The contemporary “Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur” (“Dutch Centre for Folk-culture”) says that one of their predecessors is the Dutch Folkloristic Society and that this was started after the war in 1949. Another source says that “Eigen Volk” was initially a periodical of an academic organisation. This society was strained by WWII and abandoned after the war. In 1949 a new society with the same name was founded.

Main editor J. Rasch writes in the first issue that he had worked for the periodical “Ons Volk” (“Our People”) for 11 years when the publisher thought it didn’t bring enough money. Rasch took things in his own hands, found another publisher and slightly changed the name.

The names of cooperators in the first issue of 1940 contain two familiar names: H.J. Bellen and M. van de Velde. The first was an early layman archaeologist, the other a fellow Theosophist who knew Farwerck. Van de Velde was an active contributor until the end. He proves to have more incommon with Farwerck than Theosophy.
A contributor of the first issue was poet August Heyting and also Egbert Smedes sent in a text.

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Vegetarian Farwerck

Not too much information about this subject, but still enough to make a separate mention.

“De Nederlandse Vegetariërsbond” (‘the Dutch union of vegetarians’) was founded as early as 1894. According to Wikipedia, the initiative came from A. Verschoor from Rotterdam. What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is that at the founding meeting several Theosophists were present. With P.C. Meuleman-Van Ginkel we are already in the Van Ginkel family of Henri van Ginkel who would initiate Farwerck into co-Masonry in 1911. Meuleman was also involved in the early days of Dutch Theosophy.

Most likely through his Theosophical contacts, Farwerck joined the union late 1918 as we can see in the periodical of the union that can be found online. Apparently Farwerck was not as active in this union as he was in other groups that he found, because the only other mention in the named periodical is from early 1922 when he resigned. Also this issue can be found online.

In his Rotary Club vegetarianism was a subject too on 4 October 1937 and again on 20 January 1938, but these talks were not by Farwerck, but by Cochius.

Rotary Holland

The digitalisation of archives continues, so it pays off to check for new information every once in a while. I found out that the periodical of the Dutch Rotary Club has found its way to an online archive. Farwerck is mentioned frequently, so let us have a look if this monthly magazine / newsletter has new information.

Rotary started in the Netherlands in 1927 in Hilversum and Amsterdam and Farwerck was involved. No wonder that the first “Rotary Holland” (as the name of the magazine goes) is from that year and that Farwerck is mentioned. This is not very interesting though, it is only mentioned that he was present at a meeting on 1 November 1927. Somewhat interesting, also present was Cochius.

The next mention is that he was present on 2 February 1928. Also present then was Van Duyl who would later ask him to join the N.S.B. In that time he is mostly listed as present, but on 19 April 1928 Farwerck spoke about his carpet factory, Interestingly enough, the short report opens with a quote of Inayat Khan that not Farwerck, but another member (Rozenbeek) presented. The meeting after Farwercks talk, the idea arises to start a museum in Hilversum. It would take several more years for this to become true.

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Het sportblad

I had only vague references that Franz Farwerck did something with horses, just like other members of his family. Now I run into a periodical called “Het Sportblad” (‘the sports magazine’) in which Farwerck is listed twice.

The first six pages are about soccer, Dutch sports number one. Then there is a strange divider and there follows a member list:

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Mixed gender Freemasonry (in the Netherlands)

Farwerck’s Freemasonry is spoken about on this website (and elsewhere) frequently. Time for a little more in depth information. Let me start with a bird’s eye view of mixed gender Freemasonry (or co-Masonry) and how it came to the Netherlands. Then we are going to have a look at Farwerck’s place in all this.

Freemasonry is traditionally a men’s thing, but towards the end of the 19th century some people started to do more to change that than just talk. A French lodge initiated a woman in 1882, Maria Deraismes (1828-1894). Even though the lodge that did this was already quite liberal, the Grand Lodge they worked under did not agree. Deraismes and Georges Martin (1844-1916) decided to start a new Masonic organisation, open for both men and women, the Grande Loge Symbolique Écossaise “Le Droit Humain” in 1893,

This symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge would eventually become “The International Order of Freemasonry Le Droit Humain”, LDH for short.

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What happened to Farwerck’s library?

Something occurred to me. In my text about Farwerck’s house, I mention that the neighbouring school bought Farwerck’s house in 1967. He only passed away in 1969, so he had to move elsewhere. This elsewhere appears to have been a house close to his garden.

When Farwerck passed away, the main contact address was Wernerlaan 41 (see obituary) and his brother’s widow and one of their sons as main contact. Does that mean that Farwerck lived there? Mentioned separately, but also living in Hilversum are Willy Farwerck’s son K.J. Farwerck and his wife Th.W.C. Farwerck-Hoolboom. Hoolboom was involved in some of Farwerck’s activities (Thule and Nehalennia).

Could Farwerck have moved in with the widow of his brother or with a son of his brother? Johanna Farwerck certainly did handle things after Farwerck’s passing. It is her address on the obituary. A “Mrs. Farwerck” living at that very address was also the person who offered Farwerck’s books at an auction in May 1971.

It must have been quite an ordeal to move the contents of a villa into a another house in which other people already lived. The house was not likely to be very empty.

How big would the library have been anyway. In 1945 the Gestapo raided Farwerck’s house and took 800 out of 1200 books with them according to the police report that Farwerck filed. He may not have had to miss them long. The Nazis stored the goods they confiscated and during the liberation both the Russian and the Americans on their turn confiscated these goods. The Russians returned the archives in the 1980’ies. In one such box I found Farwerck’s date of initiation.
Online a list can be found of the Offenbach archival depot which were taken by the Americans. This list (1, 2) contains Farwerck’s books (and those of the Theosophical Society which may be interesting to see). I don’t know if these goods were immediately returned or if they were returned later or not at all.

Therefor it is hard to say how big the library would have been in 1967 when the house was sold. Of course he would have had again two decades to buy new ones. Or to sell them… Only 187 of his books were sold at the mentioned auction.

Why and how did the family decide to get rid off the library three years after Farwerck’s passing? Money problems? Making room? Perhaps the library has been stored boxed up at the attic all this time? The auction listed 1526 items, only 187 were Farwerck’s, but I own books with Farwerck ex-libris which are not on the list. These could have been sold earlier (1967 for example) or were not special enough for the auction and sold through other channels