Radical or simply moral? Analyzing Borges’ Literary and Political Relationships with Jews and Nazis

Jill Golub, University of Pennsylvania

In the early to mid twentieth century, many countries exploded into chaos due to the rise of fascism, Nazism and nationalism. During the tumultuous path that led to World War II, throughout the war itself, and the deep scars left in its wake, few people had the strength and courage to stand up for justice. However, one man that did have this inner strength was Jorge Luis Borges. Through his writing, Borges criticized the Nazi regime and its myriad abuses against the Jews of Europe. Borges utilized beautiful and clever prose, as well as fictitious characters, to craft stories that implicitly expressed the many positive characteristics of Jewish people and society. In doing so, Borges painted a universal picture of Jewish society as a whole. However, in his essays and interviews, Borges also explicitly denounced the Nazis, asserting over and over again the need to rid the world of fascism. Additionally, Borges was a supporter of the State of Israel when few were. Through fiction, non-fiction and conversation, Borges painted a picture vastly different than the Nazi propaganda denouncing Jews and characterizing them as cheap, evil and responsible for all the ills of society.

Unlike the deductive way in which the Nazis described the Jews, Borges used inductive reasoning to prove his points. Through carefully executed individual stories, Borges created composites of people, thereby allowing him to make more accurate conclusions about the Jewish people.

Theory, in its most simplified definition, is a way of seeing the world. Thus, understanding Borges’ perspective on Jews is essential in order to better understand him as a writer, thinker and critic. Furthermore, analyzing what Borges was saying to the media and writing in political essays is necessary to counterbalance the notion that he was an apolitical writer. Many of Borges’ reviewers insisted that his fiction could not be read in the context of current events, despite a resounding body of evidence that points to the contrary. Through Borges’ non-fiction, public statements, poetry and fiction writings, he shaped an image of the Jewish people that is resilient, outspoken and intellectually attuned to the wonders of the world, despite constant persecution, mockery and marginalization.

Before delving into Borges’ fiction, understanding Borges’ personal background is essential, as his life experiences deeply impacted his mindset regarding Jews, Zionism and Jewish identity. Borges grew up in a bilingual and mixed religious household. He was born in Buenos Aires but his paternal grandmother was British and Protestant, and thus he grew up speaking English as well as Spanish. This is relevant because Borges, like many Jews in communities throughout Europe, was simultaneously an insider and an outsider in Argentina. Borges was sent to Geneva, Switzerland for high school, where he became close friends with two Polish Jews, Simon Jichlinski and Maurice Abramowicz.[1] These relationships were incredibly important to Borges, and at times Borges declared himself a Jew in order to relate more to his friends.[2] In fact, years after high school, Borges wrote an enthusiastic letter to Abramowicz saying, “…I just found in a book of Mr. Ramos-Mejia that the Acevedo (my mother’s family) are Sephardic Jews converted from Portugal. I do not know how to celebrate the Jewish blood stream flowing in my veins.”[3] Evidently, Borges’ early friendships led him to admire and respect Jews. Borges’ relationship with Abramowicz was so strong that after learning of his death in 1984, Borges wrote an elegiac poem commemorating his friend. He wrote, “This night you have told me without words, Abramowicz, that one should enter death as one walks into a fiesta.”[4] Another friendship with a Jew that impacted Borges’ personal and professional development budded a few years later, when Borges moved to Spain. After high school, Borges’ family moved to Madrid where Borges was mentored by the Spanish-Jewish writer Rafael Cansinos-Assens. Borges called Cansinos-Assens his master.[5] Being mentored by Cansinos-Assens taught Borges more about poetry, as well as one’s ability to fuse poetry and activism in order to make a political statement.[6] Perhaps it was Borges’ relationship with Cansinos-Assens that fostered Borges’ ability to describe reality in his non-real worlds.

Besides his close friendships with Jews, Borges also read many Jewish works in a variety of disciplines that inspired him—from kabbalistic writings to literature to poetry. While living in Geneva, Borges first became acquainted with Jewish texts, such as the kabbalistic work Der Golem by Gustav Meyerink. Borges’ maintained an interest in kabbalah for the remainder of his life, augmented years later when he read Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism by Gershom Scholem. He later said of Kabbalah, “I am not dealing with a museum piece from the history of philosophy, I believe the system has an application: It can serve as a means of thinking, of trying to understand the universe.”[7] Additionally, Borges read the poetry of Heinrich Heine[8] and the philosophy of Martin Buber.[9] Borges also greatly admired the Jewish writer Franz Kafka. In fact, Borges translated Kafka into Spanish while Kafka was still alive and was one of the first people to promote Kafka in the Spanish world.[10]

One of the first manifestations of Borges’ relationship with Cansinos-Assens can be seen in Borges’ 1920 poem Juderia, which describes the horrors of a pogrom.[11] This poem is considered to be the precursor of Borges’ short story Deutsches Requiem. The final lines of the poem are, “Sensing horror of massacres worlds suspended breath / A voice invoked his faith: ‘Adonai is One’ / And worse the Christian crowd with a pogrom cuffs.[12] Right before the Jewish speaker, who is being attacked by a violent mob, dies, he turns his attention to God. Borges transliterates from the Hebrew prayer the Shema by writing ‘Adonai is one,’ in order to show how in this Jew’s final moments his faith does not waiver.

Like the Jew in Juderia, Borges remained steadfast in his beliefs. In 1934, when an ultra-nationalistic Argentine magazine Crisol accused Borges of being a Jew and disguising his Jewish ancestry, Borges responded by writing a story.[13] In this non-fiction story, I, A Jew, Borges writes, “I am grateful for the stimulus provided by Crisol, but hope is dimming that I will ever be able to discover my link to the Table of the Breads and the Sea of Bronze; to Heine, Gleizer, and the ten Sefiroth; to Ecclesiastes and Chaplin.”[14] Borges’ deep admiration for the Jewish people is very evident in this passage. By referencing many different Jewish people and things, from poets to books to magicians, he is implying  that Jews as a people are imbued with a wide range of talents. Writing this story in Argentina one year after Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany was incredibly risky. Argentina was a hotbed of anti-Semitism, so much so that many Nazis fled to Argentina after World War II to avoid persecution by international courts.[15] In fact, Juan Peron’s government, which was in power from 1946-1955, helped 300 war criminals escape to Argentina, while simultaneously blocking Jewish refugees from entering.[16] Regardless of the risks he faced socially and politically, Borges made his feelings on the Jewish people, as well as the mistreatment of them, incredibly evident.

Borges’ outspokenness cost him professional setbacks at times. One such instance occurred in 1942 when the National Literary Prize in Argentina refused to reward his first collection of stories, The Garden of Forking Paths (1941) due to its “exotic” and “decadent” nature.[17] This, of course, was the nationalistic committee’s excuse to not recognize a brilliant writer out of their anger that Borges did not share the same political views as them. However, setbacks like this one did not change Borges’ pro-Jewish, anti-nationalistic stance. In fact, in 1944 Borges wrote in the Argentine magazine Sur, “Nazism is uninhabitable…men can only die for it, lie for it, kill and bloody for it. No one in the innermost recesses of his being can hope that it triumphs.[18] It also seems that Borges’ moral concern changed the very content of his fictional stories. In 1945, Sur printed Borges’ remarks in which he said, “I lack any vocation for heroism, any knack for politics, but since 1939 I have tried not to write a single line that would allow any misunderstanding. My life as man is an unpardonable series of trivialities; I’d like my life as a writer to be a little more worthy.[19] Thus, even though when reading the totality of Borges’ fiction he scarcely makes direct reference to Nazis, fascists or Jews, he admits here that his writing is deeply influenced and reflective of these people—both the evil and the innocent.  

Another way Borges advocated for Jews was in his outspokenness on the right for Jews to have their own homeland. His initial love of Judaism expanded into a love of the State of Israel. He even penned a celebratory poem after the Six-Day War that took place in Israel in 1967. After Israel was victorious against attacks from its neighboring nations (Syria, Jordan, and Egypt), Borges wrote a poem, To Israel, in which he writes, “Who shall tell me if you, Israel, are to be found in the lost labyrinth of the secular rivers that is my blood?[20] There is a palpable sense of longing expressed in this poem, a desire to legitimately be a part of this religion instead of solely admiring Judaism as an outsider. In 1969 Borges traveled to Israel, a deeply impactful trip for him. In “An Autobiographical Essay,” published in The New Yorker in 1970, he wrote about this experience saying, “I brought home with me the conviction of having been in the oldest and the youngest of nations, of having come from a very living, vigilant land back to a half-asleep nook of the world.[21] While international opinion was turning against Israel in the late 1960s, Borges was becoming more vocal than ever in his support of the Israeli cause.

Establishing Borges’ personal feelings towards Jewish people and Israel allows the reader to better analyze his fiction. To begin, two of his works of fiction are explicitly about the Holocaust. However, the two main characters in these stories could not be more different. Deutsches Requiem tells the story of the final moments of a Nazi, while The Secret Miracle puts us in the mind of a Jewish playwright. Both characters are sentenced to death. The Nazi for murdering Jews and the Jew for being a Jew at the wrong time and place. Ultimately, though, both men die due to the Nazi regime. In Deutsches Requiem, Otto Dietrich zur Linde awaits death for his role as a commandant in a concentration camp. Even while awaiting death by a firing squad, Otto believes passionately in Nazism. By writing this story after the Holocaust ended, Borges was highlighting the fact that the world was still not a safe place. Even though the Nazi regime was defeated, Nazis were still alive and their distorted and disturbing ideology still existed. This is seen through Otto, who does not regret his cruelty towards Jewish people. Rather, Otto regrets the moments where his staunch stance against the suffering of Jews wavered. Specifically, Otto believes that being compassionate is the ultimate sin if you are objectively the superior man. These thoughts manifested when an esteemed Jewish poet, one that Otto admired and revered, entered the concentration camp in which he worked. The name of this poet, David Jerusalem, is significant, as it is representative of how Borges wanted to portray this character. Jerusalem is the Jewish promised land, more so than any other place in the State of Israel. This place represents a certain holiness and a connection to the divine. The way in which Borges describes Jerusalem, it seems that his name fits his personality accurately. Jerusalem “takes delight in every smallest thing, with meticulous and painstaking love” (232).[22] This ability to revel in the minutiae, the things most people do not notice, is a godly attribute. Otto, on the other hand, only sees things in their larger picture or cause. He refuses to treat Jerusalem differently than any other inmate because, for him, this would be giving into weaknesses inherent in his soul. Thus, he is not hindered by the brilliance that is Jerusalem, choosing instead to group him with the anonymous Jewish masses and act just as cruelly. The contrast between the two characters is stark, and it makes the reader wonder if this is purely because one was a Nazi and involved in depraved acts or because one is Jewish and thus able to find beauty in life that so few could. Borges may be highlighting the fact that due to constant Jewish persecution throughout the history of time, Jews have, by necessity, sought the unexpected beauty in the world, since regular, or mainstream, beauty was always denied to them.

Borges’ commentary on Jerusalem leads into a more universal discussion of the way in which people view the world. Perhaps the people that are truly able to see the world in all its glory and detail are the people who are marginalized and silenced. For these sensitive honest souls are easy to overstep and ignore. Thus, in examining these two artists that are obsessed with articulating the beauty in the world, Borges is emphasizing the unique abilities in each of us. People do not need to be defined solely by the group into which they were born. Rather, each person is endowed with a soul and mind capable of examining the world with care and diligence.

Although reading Deutsches Requiem as a tale that praises the resilience and strength of Jewish people may seem obvious now, this was not always the case. Examining the critical reception of this short story sheds light on the time in which Borges was writing and the adversity he faced highlighting Jewish strengths when few people were. This story was almost altogether ignored upon publication. It was omitted in many Borges anthologies, including Harold Bloom’s 2002 Borges compilation.[23] Even in Borges’ biography, written by Edwin Williamson and published in 2004, there is no mention of this story.[24] Furthermore, French and Argentine critics also ignored this story—including some of Borges’ biggest fans such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Maurice Blanchot. Even the few critics that chose to recognize this short story often distorted the meaning of the story entirely. John Sturrock, the author of Paper Tigers: The Ideal Fictions of Jorge Luis (1977), wrote “Deutsches Requiem is pure artifice; it should not be read as some kind of commentary on the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.”[25] Sturrock believed this story should be seen as a message about the human mind’s tendency towards abstraction. Carter Wheelock, author of Mythmaker (1970), held a nearly identical opinion about the story. He wrote that Deutsches Requiem was about different ways of conceiving reality, not about Nazis, Jews or Germany gone wrong.[26] Despite the fact that his critics thought Borges could never be writing about politics and philosophy, Borges himself wrote in an epilogue to the volume El Aleph that this story was an attempt to understand the self-destructive nature of the German nation, a place he once revered.[27]      

Nevertheless, due to a confluence of events, critics finally began analyzing Borges’ writing in connection with the Holocaust and other historical events. One of these events was Argentina’s Dirty War, a civil war that took place from 1976-1983. This war was a campaign by the Argentine military government against suspected leftist dissidents and subversives and resulted in thousands of missing and murdered people.[28] In the wake of this war, people began to re-think Argentine identity and, with it, re-think the Holocaust and the meaning of Borges’ literature. In 1977, Jaime Alazraki, a critic and close friend of Borges, was the first person to use the word Holocaust in connection with Deutsches Requiem. Others followed suit, including the Argentine cultural critic Beatriz Sarlo who wrote, “Against all forms of fanaticism, Borges’ work offers the ideal of tolerance. This feature has not always been identified with sufficient emphasis, perhaps because we left-wing Latin American intellectuals have been too slow to recognize it in fictions which deal with questions about order in the world.”[29] Sarlo understood Borges’ stories to be a weaving of social order and disorder in an attempt to respond to and portray the world around him. Newer interpretations of Deutsches Requiem cited Hannah Arendt’s research on the origins of totalitarianism as a primary influence in Borges’ story. Arendt’s understanding of the Nazi regime as one that created a society of mass thinking, a loss of individuality and virulent anti-Semitism, was used to explain Otto’s unyielding hatred toward Jews.[30] There are many different ways to analyze this text, but it is now widely accepted that this story is an expose’ of Nazism and an attempt to struggle with, or at the very least discuss, the deep pain haunting society in the wake of the Holocaust.

Besides portraying Jewish characters in his writing, Borges also writes about non-Jews who are affected and impacted by Jewish texts. In doing so, he not only highlights the universality of many Jewish ideas, but also underscores the distinctions between Jews and non-Jews. In Death and the Compass, the reader is introduced to Dr. Marcelo Yarmolinsky, a character described in great depth even though the reader never ‘meets’ Yarmolinsky when he is alive. The story begins after the murder of Yarmolinsky, the first in a string of murders that Erik Lonnrot, a non-Jewish detective, is assigned to solve. Lonnrot becomes fixated by the possibility that “this crime, may…belong to the history of Jewish superstitions” (148).[31] However, before establishing the many ways in which kabbalah influences Lonnrot, it is essential to analyze Yarmolinsky. Borges describes Yarmolinsky as a man wise beyond his years, as a survivor. With regards to his hotel room, a seemingly unrelated detail to this murder-mystery, Borges writes of Yarmolinsky, “he accepted it with the ancient resignation that had allowed him to bear three years of war in the Carpathians and three thousand years of pogroms and oppression” (147).[32] Besides Borges’ acknowledgment of the struggles of the Jewish people throughout the course of history, Borges also carefully notes that Yarmolinsky had “very few articles of jewelry” (147).[33] This is interesting because Jews were often depicted as money-grubbers and hoarders of fancy, expensive items. In fact, this story was published in 1942, at the height of Nazi power when anti-Jewish propaganda was rampant.[34] After observing all these details, as well as reading some of Yarmolinsky’s books on mysticism, Lonnrot decides to investigate this murder through the pursuance of knowledge. He hopes that through reading and understanding more, he will not only be able to solve this crime (and the string of murders that follow), but also gain understanding of the true source of knowledge. This is attained through knowing God’s real name, the unlocking of the tetragrammaton. However, Lonnrot fails to do so. He is so caught up in the reading of Yarmonlinsky’s books, as well as those of other major Jewish intellectual figures, that he becomes susceptible to trickery. This vulnerability is the very cause of Lonnrot’s death.

There are two apparent conclusions discernible from Lonnrot’s downfall. First, Lonnrot is inspired by Judaism to set out on his own path, one that differs from the traditional way of studying crimes of which he has heretofore partaken. This is very much akin to the Jewish spirit that we have seen with Borges’ other works of fictions. The Jews of Borges’ fiction possess an indefatigable spirit that makes them take risks in art, and in this case, when channeling the Jewish spirit, in detective work. However, the darker message of this story is the dangers of what happens when one is so all-consumed in the pursuit of knowledge that they fail to see the world around them. Perhaps this is where the non-Jew and the Jew diverge, in Borges’ mind. Since Jews are so accustomed to suffering under the persecution of an absolute authority, they are more aware of their surroundings and, as a result, tread more cautiously. Lonnrot, on the other hand, is used to being safe in his surroundings and thus is easily manipulated.

In works that seem to have no relation to Jews or the politics of the time, Borges often imbued Kabbalistic references. When asked if he tried to make his stories Kabbalistic, Borges replied, “Yes, sometimes I have.”[35] But in order to find many of these esoteric references, one must read between the lines of many of his works. However, even on the level of form, Borges’ work is aligned with Kabbalah. For the Kabbalists, every word of the Torah has 600,000 faces, which means that is has that many meanings and interpretations. Throughout Borges’ stories, some of which have been articulated in this paper, nothing is obvious or entirely straight-forward. Almost everything he writes can be analyzed and interpreted to mean one thing, but also to mean the direct opposite of that conclusion.[36] As for Kabbalistic references in his fictional stories, the story The Theologians highlights Borges’ affinity for the Kabbalistic notion of sepiroth. Summarily, the idea of the sepiroth is that God is a reflection of the Torah. If this is the case, then what is on earth is what is above, in the heavens. In the Kabbalistic book Sefer Yetsirah, this concept is expanded upon as it says, “on the basis of the lower world we understand the secret law according to which the upper world is governed.”[37] In The Theologians, Borges makes direct reference to these ideas, expressed when he writes, “In the hermetic books, it is written that what is down below is equal to what is on high, and what is on high is equal to what is down below; in the Zohar, that the higher world is a reflection of the lower.[38] From this, Borges derived that every man is two men, existing on earth and in the heavens simultaneously. In addition to The Theologians, the concept of two men in one can be found in Story of the Warrior and the Captive, The Shape of the Sword and The South, among others.[39] This indicates that Jewish notions influenced a wide array of Borges’ writings.

Towards the end of his life, in 1978, Borges more explicitly expressed why he so admired the Jewish people to the public.

The preeminence of the Jews in Western Civilization has to do with the fact that a Jew, aside from being English, French, German or whatever, is always a Jew. He is not tied by any form of loyalty or special tradition, which allows him to innovate in science and the arts. In that sense, to be an Argentine offers an advantage similar to that of the Jew.[40]

It seems that above all else, the nomadic nature of the Jewish people is what fascinated Borges about Jews. He says that Jews have never been inclined to be entirely included in mainstream society, regardless of the country in which they lived, because they had their own traditions to uphold. Thus, through this independence, Jews managed not only to survive, but to flourish, prosper and innovate for hundreds of years in Western and Eastern Europe. Like the Jews, Borges created a self-imposed barrier between himself and society, as well as between himself and the art of writing. He was, of course, a political minority in an increasingly right-wing Argentina. But Borges was also self-effacing in regard to his writing. He chose to see himself as an outsider, more of a reader and a librarian than an actual writer. Thus, in some ways, Borges was a marginalized individual, like the marginalized Jewish community. 

In reading Borges, it is easy to imagine myriad people objecting to, and disliking, his portrayal of Jewish people and ideas. On one side, people argue that Borges was far too sympathetic in his portrayal of Jews, who were a cancer to society that needed to be destroyed. On the other end of the spectrum, people argue that Borges oversimplified Jewish thought, such as kabbalah, in such a way that could make people misunderstand the true depth of this discipline. Furthermore, it could be argued that Borges idealized the Jewish plight. Time and again, Borges portrays Jews that transform suffering into vision and action. This is undoubtedly a positive portrayal of Jewish people, but it does not cover the full narrative of the Jewish people. However, is it ever possible for a single author to span the entirety of a religion or nation? Borges may have skimmed over many nuances that encompass the modern Jewish experience, yet this should not render him irresponsible. Borges’ unyielding support and fascination with the Jewish people and the State of Israel, as well as his denunciation of Nazism, did a great deal of good. It exposed non-Jews to many Jewish values, characteristics and strengths that were not only being ignored, but being distorted. Although Borges may not have been a Jew by birth, he encompasses what he believed to be the Jewish spirit of the times by being a creative, passionate and determined person.

Bibliography

Aizenberg, Edna. “I, a Jew”: Borges, Nazism and the Shoah. Jewish Quarterly Review 104 (2014): 339-353. 

Aizenberg, Edna. On the Edge of the Holocaust: The Shoah in Latin American Literature and Culture. Lebanon, N.H., U.S.A.: Brandeis University Press, 2015.

Alazraki, Jaime. Borges and the Kabbalah: And Other Essays on His Fiction and Poetry. New York, N.Y., USA: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

“Argentina Dirty War – 1976-1983.” Argentina Dirty War 1976. Accessed December 3, 2015. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/argentina.htm.

Barnstone, Willis. With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires: A Memoir. Illinois, U.S.A.: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Autobiographical Notes in The New Yorker, September 19, 1970.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Edited by Andrew Hurley. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1998.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Selected Non-Fictions. Edited by Eliot Weinberger. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin, 1999.

Borges, Jorge Luis. “I, A Jew.” In Selected Non-Fictions, edited by Eliot Weinberger. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Christ, Ronald. The Narrow Act: Borges’ Art of Allusion. Lumen Books, 1995.

Clark, John R., Idealism and Dystopia in Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius in The International Fiction Review. University of South Florida, 1995.

Flage, Daniel. George Berkeley (1685-1753). James Madison University.

Goldman, Shalom. “Jorge Luis Borges, Zionist.” Tablet Magazine. June 11, 2015. Accessed December 4, 2015. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/191467/borges-in-jerusalem.

Goldman, Shalom. Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews and the Idea of the Promised Land. Chapel Hill, N.C., U.S.A.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Gourevitch, Philip. The Paris Review Interviews, I. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Picador 2006.

Kristal, Efrain. Jorge Luis Borges’s Literary Response to Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Jewish Quarterly Review 104 (2014): 354-361.

Mace, Angela. Mendelssohn Perspectives. Edited by Nicole Grimes. Burlington, Vermont, U.S.A: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2012.

[18] “Merely a Man of Fiction.” Jorge Luis Borges: An Interview. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.

Naipaul, V.S. “Comprehending Borges.” The New York Review of Books. October 19, 1972. Accessed December 6, 2015. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1972/10/19/comprehending-borges/.

 

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Porinsky, Rebecca, True Lies: Metaphysical games in Borges’ “Emma Zunz.” Wisconsin Lutheran College, 2002.

 

Rohter, Larry. “Argentina, a Haven for Nazis, Balks at Opening Its Files.” The New York Times, March 9, 2003. Accessed October 17, 2015.

 

STAVANS, ILAN. 1987. “Borges and the Jews”. Review of The Aleph Weaver: Biblical, Kabbalistic and Judaic Elements in BorgesProoftexts 7 (1). Indiana University Press: 96–105. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20689173.

 

Stavans, Ilan. “Borges and the Jews Part III: Deutsches Requiem.” Jewish Quarterly. December 21, 2009. Accessed October 16, 2015.

 

Tan, Berny. Forged and Deciphered Memory: A Discussion of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” School of Visual Arts, 2012.

 

Whitesell, David. “This Just In: Translations by Jorge Luis Borges.” Notes from Under Grounds. December 13, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2015.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Aizenberg, Edna. On the Edge of the Holocaust: The Shoah in Latin American Literature and Culture. New Hampshire: Brandeis University Press, 2015.

[2] Ibid, 4. Borges says he called Abramowicz his “race” brother.

[3] Núñez-Faraco, Humberto (2011) A Note on the Sources of ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ by J. L. Borges, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 88:1, 83-99.

[4] Barnstone, Willis. With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires: A Memoir. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

[5] Aizenberg, Edna. “I, a Jew”: Borges, Nazism and the Shoah. Jewish Quarterly Review 104 (2014): 339-353.

[6] Aizenberg, On the Edge of the Holocaust, 4

[7] Goldman, Shalom. “Jorge Luis Borges, Zionist.” Tablet Magazine. June 11, 2015.

[8] Gourevitch, Philip. The Paris Review Interviews, I. New York: Picador, 2006.

[9] Kristal, Efrain. Jorge Luis Borges’s Literary Response to Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Jewish Quarterly Review 104 (2014): 354-361.

[10] Whitesell, David. “This Just In: Translations by Jorge Luis Borges.” Notes from Under Grounds. December 13, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2015.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Núñez-Faraco, A Note on the Sources, 91

[13] Mace, Angela. Mendelssohn Perspectives. Edited by Nicole Grimes. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2012.

[14] Borges, Jorge Luis. “I, A Jew.” In Selected Non-Fictions, edited by Eliot Weinberger. New York: Viking, 1999.

[15] Rohter, Larry. “Argentina, a Haven for Nazis, Balks at Opening Its Files.” The New York Times, March 9, 2003. Accessed October 17, 2015.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Aizenberg, “I, A Jew,” 343

[18] Aizenberg, On the Edge of the Holocaust, 7

[19] Aizenberg, “I a Jew,” 351

[20] Ibid.

[21] Borges, Jorge Luis. Autobiographical Notes in The New Yorker, September 19, 1970.

[22] Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Edited by Andrew Hurley. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1998.

[23] Aizenberg, On the Edge of the Holocaust, 5

[24] Ibid. It is only fair to note, though, that Williamson included The Secret Miracle and Death and the Compass in this biography on Borges.

[25] Aizenberg, On the Edge of the Holocaust, 7

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] “Argentina Dirty War – 1976-1983.” Argentina Dirty War 1976. Accessed December 3, 2015. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/argentina.htm.

[29] Ibid, 10.

[30] Ibid, 15.

[31] Borges, Collected Fictions

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] See: http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/images/sturmer/ds37-47.jpg for a cartoon titled “Demon Money” in which the Jew is accused of economic misdeeds. 

[35] Alazraki, Jaime. Borges and the Kabbalah: And Other Essays on His Fiction and Poetry. New York, N.Y., USA: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

[36] See the paragraph above on “Emma Zunz,” for example.

[37] Alazraki, Jaime. Borges and the Kabbalah: And Other Essays on His Fiction and Poetry. New York, N.Y., USA: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

[38] Ibid, 247.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Stavans, Ilan. “Borges and the Jews Part III: Deutsches Requiem.” Jewish Quarterly. December 21, 2009. Accessed October 16, 2015.