Tags: Israel | Kafka | sketches | letters | court

Israeli Court: Library to Get Kafka Papers

Sunday, 14 Oct 2012 10:43 AM

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli court ruled that a cache of Franz Kafka’s letters, sketches and other personal belongings don’t belong to daughters of his executor Max Brod’s secretary and will be preserved in the National Library.

“The National Library of Israel welcomes the decision that unequivocally says that the Kafka papers and those by other authors are part of the Max Brod estate and do not belong to the Hoffe family,” director Oren Weinberg said in an emailed statement. A secretary for the lawyer for the daughters of Esther Hoffe said he was not immediately available. Meir Heller, lawyer for the library, confirmed the ruling.

The contents of the cache haven’t been published. Kathi Diamant, director of the Kafka Project at San Diego State University, has said papers that may be part of the collection may help scholars locate some Kafka notebooks that the Gestapo confiscated from the author’s companion, Dora Diamant.

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The dispute over the papers began with Brod, a German- language author best known for his Kafka biography and historical novels. Though Kafka’s last wish was for his papers to be burned, Brod kept them, ensuring the publication of “The Trial” and “The Castle.” When Brod died in 1968, he left some of the papers to Hoffe.

For decades, Hoffe declined to make the papers available to the public, frustrating archivists and scholars alike. Kafka specialists had hoped her daughters would open the files, providing new insights into the author, who died of tuberculosis in 1924.

When the sisters, now in their 70s, attempted to ratify their mother’s will in January 2008, the state of Israel intervened. The case landed in the family court, where the National Library of Israel became a party to the proceedings.

The library plans to scan, catalog and preserve the cache and open the papers for researchers’ perusal, including on the Internet,” Weinberg said in an e-mailed statement.

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An Israeli court ruled that a cache of Franz Kafka’s letters, sketches and other personal belongings don’t belong to daughters of his executor Max Brod’s secretary and will be preserved in the National Library.
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Sunday, 14 Oct 2012 10:43 AM
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