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Jewish Journal

Court rules that Kafka papers be made public

July 23, 2010 | 11:00 am

An Israeli court ruled that papers belonging to writer Franz Kafka, possibly including an unpublished manuscript, will be made public for the first time.

The papers, which also include correspondence between Kafka and his mentor Max Brod, have been the subject of a custody battle between the Hoffe family and Israel’s National Library for the past two years. A Tel Aviv court ruled this week that the papers should be made public, with the exception of personal documents. In a separate ruling, the judges rejected a request for a gag order to suppress the publication.

Last week, the Tel Aviv District court ordered that deposit boxes containing the papers be opened for the first time in 40 years.

Kafka left the papers to Brod shortly before his death, who, contrary to Kafka’s wishes, published what are now many of his most famous works. The rest Brod willed to his secretary, Esther Hoffe, who passed them down to her daughter Eva.

Eva and her sister, Ruth Wiesler, began selling off pieces of Brod’s estate. They planned to sell the papers to the German Literary Archive in Marbach, until the Israel National Library demanded the rights to them.

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