Jan Thierens

In one of his 1953 books, Farwerck thanked E.J.F. Thierens for his help. Thierens was Farwerck’s successor as Grand Commander of Le Droit Humain when Farwerck left to join the National Socialist Movement. Apparently, over two decades along the line, the two were still in contact. So who was this E.J.F. Thierens?

Thierens’ full names are Elie Johannes François, Jan in short. He was born in 1882, so he was a little older than Farwerck. Thierens died in 1967.

Thierens followed technical education and became a fairly famous engineer. He worked himself up high in civil and public functions, even high up at the Royal Steelworks. Also he was professor at the Technical Highschool in Delft.

Most information is about his working life. He advised local government, wrote books, wrote in specialized periodicals, traveled through North America to see how far developed the USA were.

I found a vague reference that connects him to Theosophy, but what is certain that he joined the same mixed gender Masonic organisation as Farwerck.

In her history of a century of Dutch co-Masonry in the Netherlands, Ank Engel writes that Thierens was advised to join Freemasonry by his brother, but he didn’t want to unless his wife could join too. Also he was bound to move to the India for work. When he returned to the Netherlands in 1917 he heard that mixed gender Freemasonry was doing well and he contacted Farwerck. Thierens was initiated on March 11th 1917, a month before Willy Farwerck in the same lodge Christiaan Rosenkreuz that I think Franz Farwerck was Worshipful Master of at the time. Thierens’ wife “followed some time later”.

When Thierens moved to Den Haag (The Hague) he also moved lodges. Georges Martin I became his lodge. He went through the 33 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and as we saw, he followed Farwerck as Sovereign Grand Commander in 1934.

Thierens was one of the editors of the Bouwsteenen periodical in which Farwerck published too. Other than running into him a few times mentioning function in lodges, I haven’t found much about Thierens’ Masonic career.

There is something odd. When looking for Thierens and Theosophy or Freemasonry, I keep running into a namesake: Adolph Ernestus Thierens who lived from 1875 to 1941, so the two were contemporaries. Not brothers though. Both Jan and Adolph Thierens have Adolph’s in their lineage, but I haven’t found the link. They’re not connected within just a few generations it seems.

In any case, Adolph Thierens appears to have been a Freemason and Theosophist and he wrote for Swastika the periodical that proceeded Bouwsteenen!

That said, it appears that Jan Thierens was a contact of Farwerck that survived Farwerck’s switch to National Socialism.


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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Van Meerwijk

Van Meerwijk is a name that I often run into when I am looking for information about Farwerck. There was a couple Van Meerwijk. He was Joseph Leonard Corneille van Meerwijk (1873-1948), she Anna Petronella Verdonck (1886-1984). They married on September 11th 1918.

Joseph is mostly known as director of one of the biggest insurance companies in the Netherlands, Centraal Beheer (until 1937).

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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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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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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;
  • Farwerck’s social ideas (6/9/19);
  • So what exactly did Farwerck say about the Jews? (6/9/19);
  • With whom did Farwerck start a Rotary club? (7/9/19);
  • With whom did Farwerck start the Coué foundation? (9/9/19);
  • Was Farwerck active within Theosophy? (12/9/19);
  • The couple Van Meerwijk joined Farwerck on may efforts, who were they? (16/9/19);
  • What can we find out about Farwerck’s belief? (18/9/19).

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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