The great Argentinian writer lived for decades in Geneva. His family first found refuge during WWI, and young Borges learned French and German at the Calvin High School in downtown Geneva. Photos of the young Borges with his family in Geneva : photo #1 and photo #1.
After the war, in 1919, the Borges family went back to Buenos Aires, where he began his career as a university professor and a writer. Later in his life, he returned to Geneva where he had an appartment at Grand-Rue 28. Borgès died in Geneva in June 1986 and is buried there, in the Kings Cemetery.
Borgès was passionate about Geneva, and wrote :
Of all the cities in the world, of all the homelands that a man seeks to earn, Geneva seems to me to be the one most likely to bring happiness. Thanks to her I discovered, since 1914, French, Latin, German, Expressionism, Schopenhauer, the doctrines of Buddha, Taoism, Conrad, Lafcadio Hearn and nostalgia for Buenos Aires. Also love, frienship, humiliation and the siren call of suicide. Things remembered are always pleasant, even trials. These are personal reasons, but I can give a more general one. Unlike other cities, Geneva has no emphasis. Paris is not unaware that she is Paris. Benevolent London knows that she is London. Geneva, however, barely realizes that she is Geneva. Here are the towering shadows of Calvin, Rousseau, Amiel and Ferdinand Hodler, but no one speaks of them to the traveller passing through. Geneva, somewhat like Japan, has renewed herself without losing her past.
More about Borgès in Geneva on www.borges.ch