Friday, October 2, 2009

Brod and Hoffe were lovers...or not

Eva Hoffe, 75, picked up her mobile phone and dialed 100, the number of the Israeli police. "There's a burglar in my house, Spinoza Street, Tel Aviv," she whispered. "Are you sure that he's still in your apartment?" asked the voice on the other end of the line. "He is standing in front of my bedroom door," replied the old woman. By the time the police arrived, the mysterious intruder had fled.
For over a year now, the Hoffe daughters have been awaiting a decision by the Tel Aviv family court. An increasing number of parties want to take part in the trial. The lawsuit launched by the Israeli library even alleges that Ester Hoffe unlawfully took possession of papers from Brod and illegally sold a portion of them abroad. Sure enough, in 1988 Sotheby's in London auctioned off the original manuscript of Kafka's novel "The Trial." It went for 3.5 million marks (€1.8 million) to the German Literature Archive in Marbach.
What treasures remain hidden in the safety deposit boxes of the late Ester Hoffe? During his short life, did Kafka perhaps write other works of fiction that are still unknown? And what new insights could be gained by reading Brod's personal notes on Kafka?
It goes without saying that this is also about money, and moreover about German-Israeli sensitivities. Should the literary bequest of Jewish author Max Brod, who had to flee the Nazis, end up in Germany of all places? At any rate, the Hoffe daughters are considering selling the remaining manuscripts to the literary archive in Marbach. Two months ago, the renowned institute also applied to the Tel Aviv family court to be admitted as a party to the inheritance dispute.
And another claimant has come forward: Israeli publisher Amos Schocken. His grandfather Salman Schocken, who owned a chain of department stores in Germany in the 1920s, purchased the rights to the author's manuscripts from Kafka's parents. Grandson Amos today publishes the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, whose reporting has attracted great attention to the trial.(read more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment