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THE JOURNAL “TIMON”

AND THE

NAZI COLLABORATION
OF JOSE VASCONCELOS
English translation of the article:

La revista “Timón”
y la colaboración Nazi de José Vasconcelos

by Itzhak Bar-Lewaw
Actas del Cuarto Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas: celebrado en
Salamanca, agosto de 1971, Salamanca, Universidad de Salamanca, 1982, pp. 151-156
https://cvc.cervantes.es/literatura/aih/pdf/04/aih_04_1_018.pdf
Translation produced by Roger Ogden, San Diego, Ca
Timon and Jose Vasconcelos
Itzhak Bar-Lewaw

THE JOURNAL “TIMON” AND


THE NAZA COLLABORATION OF JOSE VASCONCELOS

Even very few specialists of Spanish-American literature, in general, and Mexican


literature, in particular, know of the existence of Timon magazine and what it has to do
with Jose Vasconcelos, who, in a way, it is a myth and legend in Latin America.
I do not want to destroy that myth, but as a researcher and literary critic, I have to tell
the truth. Vasconcelos himself takes for a motto the aphorism of St. Jerome: "The truth
must be said, though it be the reason for scandal.
In my books, articles and essays on Vasconcelos, I say good and bad things about the
man who had so much influence in public life of Mexico between 1910 and 1959; I judge
his work and political activities and evaluate his writings on sociology, history,
education, journalism and literary. I knew that Vasconcelos was in his youth communist-
like -- He tells it himself and admits it --; I also knew that years later he returned to
Catholicism, and he was a man of various colors. Anti-Yankee (but only in his writings,
since for many years he lived in the United States working and teaching in their
universities). Vasconcelos fought the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez de Venezuela,
and years later he sympathizes with Peron and other dictators of Spanish-speaking
countries.
But I have to confess the following: When publishing my book in 1965 and 1966, I did
not know that Jose Vasconcelos-the so-called “teacher of the Latin American youth”,
although he has never had a chair in Latin America, only in the United States, that "soi-
disant" [pretender] so hated during the Second World War, in 1940, between the
months of February and June of that year, our Don Jose was an agent of Nazi-Hitler
propaganda of the worst kind.
It is necessary to clarify that no official or semi-official bibliography of the Vasconcelos’
vast work exists, as the Timon magazine mentions, and Vasconcelos in his frequent
chats during the last two years of his life with the author of this paper has never
mentioned it. The confession of ignorance is not an excuse, but a clarification.

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To stay on the path of truth, we must admit that many Mexicans knew about that
embarrassing Vasconcelos magazine. Personally my inquiries have not been successful
in Mexico, since many reliable and serious people at the National Autonomous
University of Mexico and men of letters from that country advised me not to waste my
time, since according to them “rumors of the Nazi collaboration of Vasconcelos were
pure slander and nothing more”. My searches at the German Embassy in Mexico
between 1956 and 1961 were not fruitful, since I found a wall of silence on the part of
the employees and diplomats. I explain the attitude of Mexicans as a desire to forget
Vasconcelos’ past, since they were ashamed due to that magazine. There is no other
explanation, or at least, I cannot find it. For lack of time I will have to limit my
presentation to three main points.
1. The origin of Timon magazine.

2. The writing of the magazine.

3. The content of Timon.

Point 1. At the beginning of World War II, on September 1, 1939, the Germans were
feverishly looking for agents in all neutral countries to interpret the point of view of the
Nazis.
One of the most important points on the Nazi map was Latin America. They were
looking for intellectuals with a certain weight and influence. No one could serve them
better than J. Vasconcelos, the author discussed, but read throughout Latin America.
With the help of German merchants in Mexico -The ones that, when Timon magazine
was published, advertised their products and merchandise there - the press attaché of
the Nazi Embassy in the city of Mexico, Walter Dietrich, financed the company (we must
take into account the fact that Vasconcelos was not a rich man, nor in condition to start
a business of such magnitude without a guarantee of the economic means), and on
February 22, 1940, the first issue of the Timon, whose director was the lawyer Jose
Vasconcelos, and his administrator a certain Cesar Calvo.
They published 17 issues of this embarrassing magazine. When he was appointed rector
of the University of Mexico in 1920, Vasconcelos proclaimed as a motto: "Via my race
the spirit will speak"; in the Timon magazine, the throat of Vasconcelos speaks the voice
of Hitler and Goebbels, and their henchmen.
The madness of Jose Vasconcelos until the year 1940 are quite known and it is not a
matter of mentioning here all their scandals, their lawsuits,

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quarrels, cheap and more serious love affairs, etc. He tells them himself - and with many
details- in his four autobiographical volumes of Ulises Criollo, La Tormenta, El Disastre
and El Proconsulado. But the madness of Timon magazine, in my view, has no other
explanation but the following: Vasconcelos thought seriously that Hitler would win the
war in Europe, and in Mexico there would be a pro-Nazi regime under the presidency of
--- you guessed it already --- Jose Vasconcelos.
Point 2. The editorial staff of the magazine was located in San Juan street at Letran, no.
68, that is, in the heart of the Mexican capital. Most of the 17 issues have coverage of a
political nature; A German soldier on guard, Hitler kicking England over the map of
Europe, magnetic bombs of Germany, Uncle Sam and the European storm, etc., etc.
The magazine contains many unsigned articles, mostly pro-Nazi, or documents taken
from the German military archives, or from the offices of Goebbels. In total there were
about 60 contributors, all mediocre people or of bad journalistic reputation in Mexico,
such as Carlos Roel, who in another Mexican far right magazine “La Reacción” previously
defended the war, the Nazi racism, or a Francisco Struck, who in the no. 16 issue of the
magazine states that: “Hitler is God's broom that is sweeping from the surface of the
Earth all the bad that had been accumulated for centuries ...” Only Dr. Atl and Andrés
Henestrosa they are the exception, since they enjoyed a certain prestige in Mexico. They
were also contributors to Timon.
The theme of the Timon is varied and seeks to please the vulgar at whom it is targeted.
Apart from news from Hollywood, from German cinema, the opera, stamp-collecting,
advances in technology and German sciences, pieces of several novels by Cervantes.
Gide and others, there is a little news about politics in Mexico. News was also to be
read about various events in Hispanic-American countries, but most of the information,
signed and unsigned articles, photos and observations about political life deals with the
war in Europe, the advance of Germany in all military fronts, Nazi plans in the near
future and much later after the "final victory", the vile and cowardly England, the
attitude of the United States towards the European conflict, the Jewish super-influence
in the democracies of the West, etc., etc.
Most of the photos in Timon are of German, Italian or Japanese origin. They show the
heroism of the Axis soldiers. The maps about the state of military campaigns in Europe
are published with German titles, and the editors of Timon did not even bother to
translate them to Spanish. Even the commercials of Nivea cream, toothpaste, and
others, carry photos whose faces are clearly Teutonic, that is, sent directly from
Germany.

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The journal publishes columns that appear in most or almost all the issues of Timon:
“Books and Ideas”, “International Politics” or “International Panorama”, “This Week in
Mexico” or “Week of the Nation”, “Glitter” and “Documents of History”, almost all from
Nazi or fascist sources.
Point 3. The content of the Timon is violently anti-Allies, that is, anti-polish, anti-French,
anti-English and, of course, anti-Jewish.
Observe a fact of great interest and importance: Vasconcelos was very anti-Yankee, but
in the first half of 1940, the United States have not yet declared war on the Axis powers,
and the posture from the editor of the magazine Timon towards the Americans is quite
tepid. Try -as the Nazis at that time- to convince to the United States that it was better
not to enter the war, that Hitler was a military genius and that the "final victory" of
Germany was already assured. The same "graulpropaganda" of Goebbels is also
intended for the Mexicans. From the contents of Timon it can be understood that it
would be better for Mexico to prepare for a Nazi or pro-Nazi regime. Mexicans read in
the magazine that in Germany there is an abundance of food, that German science and
technology are the most developed in the world whole, that the German soldier is the
most noble and capable of all the others armies, and so on.
The contributors of Timon still translate from German Nazi terms, For example: espacio
vital (“Lebensraum” in the German language).
I will limit myself to briefly indicate the division of the articles more of the Timon and its
contents:
1. Articles signed by José Vasconcelos.
2. Editorials, not signed by Vasconcelos, but which are his, by style, content and manner
of expression.
3. Anti-Allies articles (at that time against Poland, France and England). The articles
against the United States are not strong, as we have explained above.
4. Anti-Jewish articles.
5. Clearly pro-Nazi items.
The journal also contains photos, where Jose Vasconcelos is seen in the German
Embassy in Mexico, surrounded by various Nazi personalities.
Our Vasconcelos signs articles on the excellence of the sadly famous Protocols of the
Elders of Zion. In Issue no. 14 of the magazine of May 25, 1940, Vasconcelos publishes

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an article “In our own defense” where he cites a chapter of the Protocols: “The control
of the press for Israel has been wisely planned and ordered by the Jewish world
program, and in the protocols of the wise men of Zion record and transcribe it in this
regard ... -I. We will saddle her and like a fiery mare, we hold tight the reins ... -II. No
news will reach the consciousness of the peoples that have not passed first by our
censorship.-III. Literature and journalism are two extremely important educational
powers, and for this reason we take over most newspapers and magazines…“ And
Vasconcelos adds in his own words: "The Jews could not express themselves more
clearly in their world program.”
In another article signed by José Vasconcelos in the magazine Timon (No. 16, June 8,
1940) under the title "Intelligence is imposed", affirms the following:
"Hitler, although he has absolute power, is a thousand leagues from Caesarism.
The force does not come to Hitler from the barracks, but from the book that
inspired his insight. Hitler does not owe this power to the troops, nor to the
battalions, but to his own speeches ... Hitler represents, in short, an idea, the
German idea, so often humiliated, once for the militarism of the French, the
perfidy of the English. Against of Hitler, it is true, they are fighting "Democracies"
governed by civilians. But they are democracies only in name."
In "Facing Destiny" (Editorial, No. 14, May 25, 1940), the magazine declare:
"What is evident, even for the stubborn, is the triumph of Germany over its rivals
and the historical change that will consequently take place in the world ... But we
will win with the German victory! And not because we believe that Germany is
going to become champion of Latin America. It is the law of history that each
people conquer their own freedom ... And now in Hispanic America, we think that
an inspired nation always manages to take advantage of the great changes for the
benefit of their future ... “
The anti-Allies articles carry titles: "The London wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”, “A happier
world eliminating British power”, “England is leaving”, “Much of what can happen in the
world if Albion (Britain) is defeated”, “In any part of the world where there is a business,
there will be an Englishman”, etc.; They speak for themselves and do not need
comment.

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In the article “Adolf Hitler”, the lawyer Antonio Islas Bravo (No. 15) states:
“On the occasion of Adolf Hitler's recent birthday, Minister Ribbentrop declared
that the German leader is the greatest man that the centuries has produced.
There is no exaggeration in what was affirmed by the Ministry of Reich Relations
... Like the Germans, the French, the English, the Belgians, the Scandinavians, the
Americans, etc., will have to recognize the greatness of Hitler, not limited to the
German people, but extending to all men who walk on the injured and painful
territories of civilization ... True greatness is in the directors of men, and Hitler is
the greatest of them all. Ribbentrop is right ... “
One may ask: Why did Vasconcelos do it? For money? To have been simply a Nazi
agent? For revenge against the Mexican authorities who, according to him, denied him
the Presidency in 1929? Because of hatred of Americans in particular, and of Jews and
Anglo-Saxons in general? Was Vasconcelos really thinking he would get to be Satrap
[local subordinate ruler] of Mexico after Hitler's "Final Victory"?
Whatever were the personal reasons of José Vasconcelos, There is no doubt that Timon
magazine, under his personal direction, and the articles there published by him and by
most of his collaborators, constitute a very serious stain in the life of this Mexican
author.

I. Bar-Lewaw
York University
Toronto, Canada

Translation produced by Roger Ogden, San Diego, Ca - August, 2018.

Translator Notes:
1. Text in brackets [] was added by the translator for clarification.
2. The “Walter” Dietrich mentioned in the article appears to be a mistake in the
name and should be “Arthur Dietrich,” the brother of Otto Dietrich, Hitler’s Press
Chief.
3. Vasconcelos was an extreme anti-American long before WWII. Bar-Lewaw, goes
easy on him in some places.
4. You can download a copy of the original article in Spanish at this link.
https://cvc.cervantes.es/literatura/aih/pdf/04/aih_04_1_018.pdf

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