Kafka Manuscripts Unearthed in Tel Aviv

Published: July 20th 2010
in Culture » Books

A young Franz Kafka

Original manuscripts belonging to Jewish writer Franz Kafka were found recently among safety deposit boxes in both Tel Aviv and Zurich, Haaretz reported. Among the many manuscripts is an original copy of a well-known short story, penned by the author himself.


The works were discovered during a trial that has been ongoing for the past two years, over the fate of the estate left behind by Kafka’s close friend, Max Brod, who was also the author’s literary executor. Kafka’s assets are currently under the control of Eva Hoffe, daughter of Brod’s late secretary, Esther Hoffe.


Items have been divided between Israel and Switzerland, in several safety deposit boxes. According to Haaretz, the Tel Aviv Family Court arranged the opening of four safety deposit boxes and on Monday, in a Zurich bank, some Israeli lawyers, German literature experts and bank clerks were present to verify the contents that had been locked up for decades.


Kafka (1883-1924 ) lived in Prague and wrote in German, and is considered by many as one of the 20th century's most important authors. The original manuscripts in question were located in one of the boxes in Tel Aviv.


The existence of the manuscripts dispels Hava Hoffe’s claims that she did not possess any of Kafka's original work. Hoffe was present at the Zurich court on Monday, but was not allowed to enter the bank vault or the room in which the items were examined.


Sources at the bank reported that Hoffe was visibly upset with those who disallowed her from entering. She has, however, recently filed a petition asking that the contents of the boxes not be revealed to the public. The Tel Aviv Family Court will soon deliver a ruling on the case.

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