Library > News > The NLI Has Begun Examining Max Brod and Franz Kafka's Papers

The NLI Has Begun Examining Max Brod and Franz Kafka's Papers

פרנץ קפקאThe National Library has begun cataloging and depositing the contents of Max Brod's safe, among them the papers of his friend, the author Franz Kafka.


The papers are kept in bank deposit boxes under Chavah Hoffe's name in Israel and abroad.

It appears that among the materials received, many are letters from Kafka to his friend Max Brod, manuscripts and drafts of Kafka's work, as well as drafts of Max Brod's work and letters to Kafka. 



Dr. Stefan Litt of the Archives Department Examining Papers of the Estate (December 20, 2016) 

The National Library has begun examining, cataloging, and sort through the items of the first safe of Esther Hoffe, Max Brod's secretary and holder of his estate. During the month of December the Supreme Court moved to cancel the injunctions that delayed the process of opening the safes.



 The Opening of the First Safe (December 15, 2016)

Following the Supreme Court's ruling, the managers of Max Brod's estate began the process of opening the safes on Thursday (December 15th). The content of the first safe was removed and deposited to the National Library. On Monday (December 20th) the Archives department began the initial process of unpacking the boxes, sifting through them, documenting and cataloging them.


Over the coming weeks the content of the rest of the safes, both in Israel and abroad, will be moved to the National Library. As decreed by the Supreme Court, the papers will be deposited and processed through a dedicated team established by the National Library.




Initial Examination of the Items from the Safe (December 20, 2016)

After years of court litigation, the Supreme Court ruled that the papers that Max Brod left in his literary estate, including the writings of his friend, the author Franz Kafka, would be delivered to the National Library of Israel. With this verdict the National Library's position that Max Brod's last will and testament that his estate be deposited in the library was accepted.

Max Brod is considered Franz Kafka's closest friend, and the latter gave his papers, drafts, and manuscripts to Brod, asking him to burn them to a crisp. Brod ignored his friend's request and worked his entire life editing and publishing Kafka's writing. After Brod died, his papers were passed to Esther Hoffe, his secretary, along with the instruction to arrange their deposit to the National Library of Israel. Over the years Hoffe sold several of his papers to a German archive, but after Hoffe's death in 2008, the fate of the estate had gone to court.



Initial Examination of the Items from the Safe (December 20, 2016)

The National Library estimates that within Max Brod's literary estate they will find letters and drafts of books written by Franz Kafka.


Photographs: Hanan Cohen, the National Library of Israel