German archive, vying for Kafka manuscripts, presents odd claims in court

09.12.2011                      13.Kislev. 5772

Kafkas Nachlass:

German archive, vying for Kafka manuscripts, presents odd claims in court

Conspiracy claims to keep famed writer Franz Kafka's diaries are the latest twist in the Kafkaesque saga.

The last chapter in the long-running battle over the estate of Franz Kafka, which was revealed in Haaretz and is being played out in Tel Aviv Family Court, is being written now. Our story so far: The literary estate of the famous writer, who died in 1924, ended up in an apartment he never saw, owned by a woman he never met, in a city he never visited.
Two of the story's main characters are no longer alive: Kafka's lifelong friend, Max Brod, and Brod's secretary, Esther Hoffe. Her Israeli daughters, Eva Hoffe and Ruth Wiesler, are in possession of the literary estates of both men. In the middle are two world-class archives, the National Library of Israel, in Jerusalem, and the German Literature Archive, in Marbach, Germany, each of which wants the collection. Like any good Kafkaesque story there is another factor, whose name would certainly put a bitter grin on the late author's face: The State of Israel, or more precisely, the Custodian of Absentee Property, which is represented by counsel for the attorney general. For now this agency is mainly a bystander, but when it comes to Kafka one never knows….