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Israeli court rules that rare Kafka, Brod manuscripts be available to public

The ruling ends a long dispute between two sisters who inherited the papers and the library, which argued that the rare documents be made public.

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An Israeli court has ruled that rare manuscripts from Franz Kafka and Max Brod be transferred to the Israeli National Library. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

A Tel Aviv court ruled Sunday that manuscripts written by Franz Kafka and Max Brod will be transferred to the Israeli National Library.

The ruling ends a long dispute between two sisters who inherited the papers and the library, which argued that the rare documents be made public.

"This case complicated by passions, was argued in court for quite a long time across seas, lands, and times. Not every day, and most definitely not as a matter of routine, does the opportunity befall a judge to delve into the depth of history as it unfolds before him in piecemeal fashion," said Judge Talia Pardo Kupelman, according to Haaretz.

The trial opened "a window into the lives, desires, frustrations and the souls of two of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century," she wrote in her summary.

The papers were in the possession of Eva Hoffe and Ruth Wiesler, two sisters in Tel Aviv whose mother was the secretary of Kafka's friend Max Brod.

The sisters inherited the papers from their mother who was the executor of Brod's will.

Prague-born, German speaking Jew, Franz Kafka gave all his manuscripts to Brod before he died in 1924 and instructed him to burn them.

Brod ignored Kafka's wishes, said AFP, and had them published.

Celebrated works such as the Metamorphosis and The Trial were released and celebrated as some of the best literature of the 20th century.

Brod eventually fled to Israel before the Second World War and gave the collection, including the unpublished writings that were in question in the court case, to his secretary.

Sunday's ruling found that Brod's instructions were to give the rest of the collection to a public institution in Israel or elsewhere, said Bloomberg.

The National Library, which will take possession of the new papers currently stored in safe deposit boxes in Zurich and Tel Aviv, said that it planned to publish them online.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121014/israeli-court-rules-rare-kafka-brod-ma