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Spirituality and National Socialism

Quite by accident I ran into the book Between Occultism and Nazism of Peter Staudenmaier. It is not one of these popular books about occult interest of Nazis, but an academic publication about how esotericists, mostly Anthroposophists, acted during World War II and how the regime reacted to them. It is not immediately a wildly interesting subject at first sight, but in a way this could say something about Farwerck and people in his vicinity.

Looking back today it is quite incredible that people with -in this example- Antroposophist leanings would see anything in the upcoming of a regime that would destroy millions of lives, the same as it strikes us as odd that Farwerck was of the opinion that he could work for his fellow man through workers’ unions, Freemasonry, the Rotary and National-Socialism. Staudenmaier has some observations that may help explain this.

As homogenous as we may think the German National-Socialist movement was (or the Italian fascist movement), it was actually pretty divided on some points. One of these points was “occultism”. Some of the leaders were involved themselves in one type or another, while others -that later on would get the upper hand- were fiercely against anything that smelled of it and arrange prohibitions from 1935 on, yet under strong opposition of supporters.

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Ernest Louis Selleger (1876-1967)

Ernest Louis Selleger (Tenno for short) was a likely contact for Farwerck. He was an interesting character, though a bit elusive for the interests of this website. He has been mentioned a few times before. I decided to see if I could find some more information about the man.

Selleger was born on 2 Augustus 1876 in Pemalang, Dutch Indonesia. He had three brothers and three sisters. In some ways, his wife Johanna Madeleine (Nancy for short) Elout (1875-1957) was more famous than Tenno, at least, with the general audience. Elout would become a rather famous writer of children’s books later in her life. The couple met each other in Switzerland in 1905. They had two sons, one of them died at an early age in Laren, a place name you will run into more often on this website.

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Marijn Cochius (1874–1938)

Better known as P.M. Cochius (Petrus Marinus), here we have a man that I run into in connection with Farwerck frequently. The two had much in common, but Cochius was Farwercks senior by 15 years. It is time to dedicate a few words to Cochius.

Cochius was born as the son of the major of Rijswijk. There was a glass factory in the family as well and that is how Cochius came into the business. I have already devoted some text to this factory in which Farwerck (and fellow Theosophist Tenno Selleger (1876-1967) to whose sister Cochius was married) was involved too.

One movement that Farwerck and Cochius shared was Theosophy. In the Dutch Theosophical periodical Theosofia of April 2008 there is a nice biography from which much information in this little text comes.

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Henri van Ginkel (1880-1954)

The influence of Hendricus Johannes (Henri) van Ginkel on Farwerck must have been immense. Van Ginkel lived in Laren not far from Hilversum where Farwerck lived. Both were active in the Theosophical Society. In 1917 Farwerck lead that lodge. Both were active in the Universal Sufism movement and the Coué foundation.

In 1911, Van Ginkel initiated, passed and raised Farwerck into mixed gender Freemasonry in a lodge that he himself had initially set up in his house, but which would quickly move to Hilversum. Both Farwerck and Van Ginkel were of the opinion that Freemasonry and Theosophy should not mix. As a matter of fact, the lodge that Van Ginkel started (for which he left the first mixed gender lodge in the Netherlands) and in which Farwerck was initiated, was the first lodge with a non-Theosophical (or rather: less Theosophical as Van Ginkel’s reforms weren’t ready yet then) ritual that Van Ginkel himself had written.

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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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Anne Kerdijk (1882-1944)

Kerdijk was one of the early members of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain, but not from the very beginning. Initiated in 1908, and unlike many other early members, she progressed through degrees slowly. Her passing was in 1909 and her raising in 1910. Kerdijk is mentioned in the documents surrounding the founding of the Dutch federation in 1918.

Together with H.J. van Ginkel Kerdijk was editor of the magazine Swastika, which was published between 1911 and the outbreak of the First World War. She was also editor of the official bulletin of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain. She also translated texts, such as the book De Godsdienst der Vrijmetselarij by Charles Fort, which was published by the publishing house of Van Ginkel and Duwaer. In addition, Kerdijk was married to Stefan Schlesinger.

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Stephan Schlesinger (1896-1944)

Stephan Schlesinger was born in Vienna on January 14, 1896. After graduating, Schlesinger went to the technical college to study architecture. Because he was called for duty during the First World War, Schlesinger could not complete this study.

On February 27, 1924, the Jewish Schlesinger married the Dutch Anna (Be) Kerdijk (1882-1944) in Vienna. According to Wikipedia, Kerdijk was half Jewish, other sources say she was not Jewish. Due to the growing anti-Semitism in Vienna, the couple moved to the Netherlands a year after their marriage. Schlesinger provided graphic work for old and new clients in his new country.
Besides graphic design, Schlesinger proved to be a designer in several areas. He designed furniture, fonts and packaging. Moreover, not all of his work was commercial. I came across his name because he designed covers of books of N.V. Maçonnieke Uitgevers Maatschappij (and I suspect also the logo) such as those of the book Mysteriën En Inwijdingen In De Oudheid (‘Mysteries and Initiations in Antiquity’) by B.J. van der Zuylen (F.E. Farwerck). Schlesinger also designed various Ex Libris, such as Farwerck’s Masonic Ex Libris.

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August Heyting (1879-1949)

While rereading texts on this website I realised that long after I started to make this website, I have been writing short biographies of people that (possibly) were acquaintances of Farwerck. The poet August Heyting deserves a place among these ranks.

Heyting was born in Dutch Indonesia in 1879. He married in 1907. He studied in Breda (Netherlands) and got involved in stage playing. At that time he also wrote, something not everybody was happy about, since he was more productive than he was good in the eyes of some.

Also in 1906, Heyting started to write about the Germanic past. He used the pseudonym Gustaaf van Elring for his play “Harald de Skalde” (‘Harald the Skald’). In this way he path started to close in to that of Farwerck.

On 18 November 1931 Farwerck, Heyting and some others were involved in the foundation of the “Nederlandsch Ario-Germaansche Genootschap” (‘Dutch Ario-Germanic Society’). The circle wanted to study not non-Christian past of the Dutch people.
Already on 27 November, a few people, among whom Heyting and Farwerck left the group. It seems that they were of the opinion that the others involved had too political aims.

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