Germany to Return Stolen Max Brod Manuscripts to Israel

The documents apparently went missing from the Tel Aviv home of Brod's former secretary, Esther Hoffe, some 10 years

Czech born Austrian writer Max Brod, the friend, biographer and editor of Franz Kafka who was responsible for ensuring that Kafka's work was published after his early death, circa 1937.
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Documents from the estate of Max Brod that were stolen in Tel Aviv a decade ago and later offered for sale in Germany are to be returned to Israel, the German federal police (BKA) and the Israeli embassy in Berlin said on Monday.

The documents, numbering some 5,000 pages, that are part of the legacy of the Jewish man of letters who was a friend and biographer of Franz Kafka, are to be handed over to Israel's National Library on Tuesday.

According to library officials, the documents apparently went missing from the Tel Aviv home of Brod's former secretary, Esther Hoffe, some 10 years ago. They were seized in Germany in 2015 after being offered for sale to the German Literary Archive in Marbach.

>> Eva Hoffe, original heiress of Kafka letters forced to give them to Israel’s national library, dies at 85

A German court subsequently ruled that they be made over to Brod's estate. The documents include Brod's correspondence with his wife and passages from his diary.

Brod left his manuscripts and material from Kafka to Hoffe, who died in 2007, when they passed to her daughter Eva. The manuscript of Kafka's "The Trial" was subsequently sold at auction for a large sum.

In 2016, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that Kafka's entire estate belonged to the National Library. A Swiss court recently ruled that a part of the estate currently in a bank safe in Zurich should also be handed to Israel.