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George Zorab (1898-1990)

The first time I ran into the name of Zorab was when I found that correspondence between him and Willy Farwerck is the Dutch Royal Library. A “parapsychologist”. Recently, I ran into Zorab again, when I was looking on information on the Denier van der Gon family. A member of this family had been, just as Zorab before him, one of the editors of a parapsychological periodical. So who was this Zorab?

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Denier van der Gon

Some of the histories of Theosophy in the Netherlands quote a letter of Piet Meuleman, the medium around whom Theosophy in this country set off. Meuleman wrote (translated from Dutch):

Very soon after my arrival at Amsteldijk 76, Mr. J. v. Manen, then 19 years old, joined us, followed by Ms. Dijkgraaf, Mr. Hallo, Ms. Buekers, Ms. Kerdijk, Mr. and Ms. Denier v.d. Gon, Ms. Waller, while Mr. v. Ginkel, first as a trainee of the nautical college, spent his days off and vacations with us and later became a resident of the Headquarters.

We are talking about “very soon” after 1896. This quote is interesting, because it contains a few names of people whom would influence Farwercks life considerably. It did get me thinking though. Meuleman refers to a 19-year-old J. v. Manen en later mentions that other temporary residents were usually young as well. Moreover, one name (or actually two) raised problems.

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Hermann Wirth (1885-1981)

I have suggested a few times that Hermann Wirth could have been one of the inspirations for Farwerck’s interest in ‘things Germanic’.

Hermann Felix Wirth was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands on 6 May 1885, four years before Farwerck. His father was a German who, as Wirth would become, was a musicologist and ‘Germanist’. Wirth’s mother was from Utrecht. His mothers maiden name Roeper was sometimes added to Hermann’s last name.

Wirth studied Dutch language, ‘Germanism’, history and music and graduated in Utrecht. In 1909 (age 24) he became a professor for Dutch language in Berlin. He would keep ties to the Netherlands with organising historic music concerts from 1910 on and an occasional lecture about historical music.

This should suffice to say that it is highly unlikely that it was Wirth who inspired Farwerck to study ‘Germanism’. Even though he had studied it, I have no indication that Wirth published anything in this vein or lectured about such subjects.

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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 Hilversum 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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