And, as Kafka knew only too well, judgement is not necessarily justice. In fact he might make that comment even about God. The courts of man have now ground on for three years in Israel, concerning papers by Kafka which he had directed destroyed.
Now, Kafka being Kafka, he asked Max Brod, the one person he knew who would not destroy the manuscripts, to do the burning. Brod had even told Kafka on an earlier occasion that he would not do the deed. One can surmise how much Kafka wanted them removed from the earth. But even he might not have predicted this three year court case. A trial where one plaintiff is a country which did not even exist when Kafka lived. Or, come to think of it, maybe only Kafka might have imagined these events.
Kafka in wax:
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Israel, Let Kafka Go!
by Benjamin Lazarus
Despite having burned an estimatedninety per centof his work, and publishing just a few short stories and novellas during his lifetime; Franz Kafka remains one of the greatest Jewish writers. Regardless of this literary prestige, there sits in a dirty apartment inTel Aviv, a box of his unpublished papers.
Kafka left all his work to Max Brod, under the strictest instructions that it "should be burned unread and without remnant" following his death from tuberculosis in 1924. Brod had other ideas, and flexibly interpreted Kafka's command, publishingThe Trial,The Castle, andAmerikain the years 1925-1927, and an edition of collected works in 1935.
In 1939, Brod fled Czechoslovakia, arriving at the British mandated Palestine with a suitcase full of Kafka's papers. Thereafter, he failed to publish these pieces, believing the content to be of little value and eventually left them to his secretary (and reported lover) Esther Hoffe, when he died in 1968. She had two daughters; Ruth Wiesler and Eva Hoffe. In 2008 she left Kafka's work to them. Following Ruth's death earlier this year, the septuagenarian Eva (a reported cat-obsessed spinster) is now the sole owner of Kafka's unpublished papers.
The Israeli government want to restore Kafka's work to the Israeli National Library, believing Kafka to be part of the state's heritage. In spite of this, Hoffe and her lawyer Harel Ashwall, maintain Kafka's papers will not be properly treated in Israel. Rather, they argue The German literary archive in Marbach is a more suitable destination, since they believe Israel to be incapable of handling Kafka's work, as the state must focus on surviving and fighting terrorism. This has resulted in a three year legal battle and the court's findings are due to be announced later this month - although the verdict is unlikely to settle the dispute.