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Franz Kafka’s literary heritage in a legal mess

Spicezee Bureau

Zurich: Legendary Franz Kafka’s literary heritage is in a terrible mess amidst litigation over ownership rights. According to reports, original manuscripts belonging to Franz Kafka were found in recent days in a safe deposit boxes in Tel Aviv and Zurich.

Amongst other manuscripts, the most noted was a well-known hand-written short story by the Jewish writer.
Reports reveal that the literary treasure was discovered in the course of the trial that has been under way during the past two years over the fate of the estate left behind by Max Brod, a close friend of Kafka, who also was his literary executor.

The manuscripts and drawings were extracted from the vaults of Swiss bank UBS.

Four safes which have held manuscripts and drawings of the author for over 50 years were opened.

The documents are at the heart of an ownership legal tussle between the Israeli authorities and the Hoffe sisters -- who say they had inherited the estate from their mother Esther Hoffe.

Esther Hoffe was the secretary of Max Brod, the friend of Kafka whom the author had entrusted with burning all manuscripts and works after his death.

However, Brod had ignored Kafka`s wishes and instead published the works. He also bequeathed the originals to Esther Hoffe.

As Brod had migrated to Israel in 1939 when fleeing the Nazis, the state of Israel now claims that Kafka`s documents are property of the state.

A trial is therefore ongoing in Israel to determine if the Hoffe sisters are the rightful heirs of the estate.

With AFP inputs

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