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Hidden Kafka Works Surface
News Bytes 04/18/2019 24 Comments

Last week, a court in Switzerland ruled that several safe deposit boxes of writer Franz Kafka’s papers could be opened and their contents shipped to Israel. The decade-long battle over these unpublished works reads like one of the author’s bizarre stories.

Kafka is a German-speaking Jew whose literary legacy is fiercely contested between Israel and Germany. Both countries claim the right to own the mysterious trove of papers. Ironically, Kafka often wrote about absurd situations involving complicated legal processes. And this real-life law saga is complex.

Shortly before his death, Kafka bequeathed his papers to longtime friend Max Brod. Kafka instructed Brod to burn everything unread. Brod didn’t comply. He smuggled some of the manuscripts into the yet-unrecognized state of Israel when he fled the Nazis in 1938. He further ignored Kafka’s wishes and published most of what Kafka gave him. Those works made Kafka one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

However, Brod didn’t publish everything. Upon his death, Brod instructed his secretary, Esther Hoffe, to transfer the Kafka papers to an academic institution. Hoffe didn’t comply either. She sold some of them and stashed the rest away.

When she died, Hoffe left the collection to her two daughters. Both have since also passed away, leaving Hoffe’s granddaughters to continue fighting over the Kafka collection.

Israel’s Supreme Court has already stripped the granddaughters of the Kafka manuscripts—which were hidden in bank vaults and in a squalid, cat-filled apartment. The Swiss ruling will send nearly all of them to Israel’s National Library.

Amazingly, no one knows for sure what’s inside the vaults. Experts think there could be endings to some of Kafka’s major works. One thing’s for sure: “Nothing is . . . secret that will not be known.” (Luke 8:17)

Kafka researcher Benjamin Balint cautions that the contents of the hidden archive may not live up to everyone’s expectations. He calls it “very unlikely we are going to discover an unknown Kafka masterpiece in there.”

(Franz Kafka’s Hebrew vocabulary notebook at Israel's National Library in Jerusalem. AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

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Most recent comments

This is so bizarre.

This is so bizarre.

Weird. I wonder why no one

Weird. I wonder why no one obeyed Kafka even though he gave is friends specific (and strange) instructions.

Karisma S

I wonder why everyone wanted them so bad, and yet no one seemed to do anything about them.

@Lena P

Yeah, You would think that if the were really his friends they would do what he wanted.

Oh my!

this is kinda like in the bible with Saul and David don't you think so?

@ Lena.p

Saul and David are more of an on fair trade. And this is more greediness.

Sorry i spelled your name wrong Leah

I got you and Lena mixed up.

Wow, that is just WEIRD!!! I

Wow, that is just WEIRD!!! I guess this just shows that sometimes friends won't carry out what you wanted them too!!

Garrett v

I think that they should have just followed the instructions of Kafka so that all this did not happen. if he had just burned the papers as he was told to there would more peace and love in this world and we would not be arguing about something silly but instead we could be doing something useful with our time like curing a desies, our improving technology. it just does not make sense why they would spend all their time on this.

Wow! That's really weird!

Wow! That's really weird!

I don't know what to say?

werad strange??

I read Franz Kafka's story

I read Franz Kafka's story "Metamorphosis" for school. Kind of sad and weird at the same time. Basically this guy turns into a bug creature, and his family eventually starts neglecting his care (if I remember it right) and he dies. Yup. That's actually a book.

@ Lauren A.

I've heard of that book (Metamorphosis) but never actually read it. It sounds bizarre.

Lauren A.

STRANGE!!!!

To Everyone!!

Happy Resurrection Day!!!! Christ is risen to-day!! Alle-luia we sang that song in church this morning!!! www.shoaffparkbaptist.org

just trying something new

to above

Nadia A is that link to your church's website

Attention

https://teen.wng.org/node/5246 read this it is sad

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@ Thia S

yes that is!! : ) click on it pleas!! : )

crazy

crazy

Leion 33 IN GOD I TRUST

That is a lot of lying and untruthfulness. They would not be having that trouble if all those people had kept their word.

@Nadia A

I clicked on the link, first what is Awana ? and second do you like your Sunday school?

Lily ( Thia's sister)

@ Nadia A. You are Baptist? We are too!!!!!! Are you a believer? I am but Thia is not :(

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