Israel in legal battle over Kafka's papers





This is a struggle between Israel and Germany, between a Jewish refugee family from Prague and Israeli public opinion over a collection of papers that might include unpublished works by the celebrated 20th Century writer Franz Kafka.

Kafka became famous in spite of himself. Just before he died in 1924, the young novelist, who suffered from various mental and physical illnesses, entrusted his friend, Max Brod, with a collection of handwritten documents.

He asked him to destroy the unpublished manuscripts after his death. Brod ignored his friend's last wishes, allowing the world to enjoy great works such as The Trial and Metamorphosis.

The rest of the papers, possibly including great literary treasures - no-one is quite sure - are locked in safety deposit boxes in Switzerland and in Israel along, it is thought, with money and other private belongings of Esther Hoffe.

Scholars believe the deposit boxes contain unpublished drawings by Kafka. Maybe even the original manuscript of Kafka's uncompleted novel, Wedding Preparations in the Country.



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