Benjamin Balint, "Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy" (Norton, 2019)


When Franz Kafka died in 1924, his loyal friend Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfill Kafka’s last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted his life to championing Kafka’s work, rescuing his legacy from both obscurity and physical destruction. Nearly a century later, an international legal battle erupted to determine which country could claim ownership: the Jewish state, where Kafka dreamed of living, or Germany, where Kafka’s three sisters perished in the Holocaust? 

In Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy (Norton, 2019), Benjamin Balint offers a gripping account of the controversial trial in Israeli courts—brimming with dilemmas legal, ethical, and political—that determined the fate of Kafka’s manuscripts.

Benjamin Balint, a fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, is the author most recently of Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder, and the Hijacking of History (Norton), winner of a National Jewish Book Award. His book Kafka's Last Trial (Norton) won the Sami Rohr Prize and has been translated into a dozen languages. He is also the co-author, with Merav Mack, of Jerusalem: City of the Book (Yale).

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Yakir Englander

Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at:

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