Manuscripts of Kafka to be transferred to Israel National Library

Click photo to download. Caption: Franz Kafka. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.( A collection of never-before-seen private manuscripts of the famous 20th century author Franz Kafka and his close associate Max Brod, are to be transferred over to the Israel National Library following a ruling by a Tel Aviv District Family Court last week after a long legal battle, Haaretz reported. 

Kafka, born to a German-speaking Jewish family in Prague in 1883, is considered one of the 20th century’s most famous writers. His famous works include Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). After his death in 1924, his friend Max Brod collected, edited and published his works—despite Kafka’s wishes that they be destroyed. The surreal situations of Kafka’s novels heavily influenced the existentialist movement and came to symbolize the travails and absurdities of modern life.

Brod, who fled to Palestine in 1940 after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, transferred Kafka’s collection to his secretary Esther Hoffe in 1968 following his death. Despite Brod’s explicit instructions in his will that Hoffe give the manuscripts to public archives, she retained the works, auctioning some off in Germany, while keeping the rest in safety deposit boxes in Tel Aviv and Zurich. When Hoffe died in 2007, her daughters attempted to inherit the collection and sell it in Germany.

The manuscripts contain of thousands of pages and will be published online according to the Israeli National Library. It includes Brod’s personal diary on Kafka’s life, notebooks filled with Kafka’s writings and correspondence with other notable writers. 

Remarking on the case, presiding Judge Pardo Kupelman said, “I hope that the inheritance of the late Brod will finally find its place according to the wishes of the deceased.”

Posted on October 15, 2012 .