i34 News: A never-before-seen manuscript by Bohemian novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka was unveiled in Jerusalem on Wednesday, in what experts say could mark the end of a long debate over the Jewish writer's legacy.
The manuscript, placed on exhibit for the first time at Israel’s National Library, include texts in Hebrew along with several drawings, providing scholars with a more robust view of Kafka’s writing process.
The manuscript arrived in Israel less than two weeks ago after lingering for more than a decade inside a Swiss vault amid a protracted legal battle.
The documents had been in the possession of the late Esther Hoffe, secretary to Kafka's literary executor Max Brod, who left his entire archive to her following his death in 1968.
Brod had asked Hoffe to donate the documents to Israel’s National Library, but held most of the archive in her Tel Aviv apartment until her death, with the most important documents deposited into vaults in Switzerland and Germany.
The National Library was finally able to get their hands on the Kafka writings after access was granted to four vaults at the Zurich headquarters of the UBS Bank.
They were brought back to Jerusalem two weeks ago and contain different draft versions of Kafka’s story “Wedding Preparations in the Country,” along with sketches, travel journals, letters, and a notebook filled with writings in Hebrew.
“For more than a decade, the National Library of Israel has worked tirelessly to bring the literary estate of the prolific writer, composer, and playwright Max Brod and his closest friend Franz Kafka to the National Library, in accordance with Brod’s wishes,” the library’s chairman, David Blumberg, said.
“After seeing materials including Kafka’s Hebrew notebook and letters about Zionism and Judaism, it is now clearer than ever that the National Library in Jerusalem is the rightful home for the Brod and Kafka papers,” he added.
Today, many of Kafka's original works are preserved in the university library in Oxford, England.