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Jewish Journal

Kafka’s writings to go public, Tel Aviv court rules

October 15, 2012 | 8:30 am

An Israeli court ruled that papers belonging to writer Franz Kafka be transferred to the Israel National Library in Jerusalem.

The Tel Aviv District Family Court made the ruling last Friday following a years-long legal battle.

The papers, which also include correspondence between Kafka and his mentor and close friend Max Brod, have been the subject of a custody battle between the Hoffe family and Israel’s National Library.

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

Brod had bequeathed the manuscripts to the National Library in his will, according to Haaretz.

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.

The manuscripts include tens of thousands of pages that were kept in 10 safe deposit boxes in banks in Tel Aviv and Zurich.

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