October 18, 2012



Sir, – The Tel Aviv Family Court ruling on Franz Kafka’s collection of works is of historical proportions (“TA Court: Kafka’s works must be given to National Library, 90 years after his death,” October 15). As a result of the court’s decision, the public will be allowed to access this cultural treasure, a fact which cannot be downplayed.

Having said so, one should not forget the real hero of this saga, Max Brod, who literally acted as a savior, ignoring Kafka’s unequivocal instructions to set his work ablaze.

Faced with the dilemma of fulfilling his friend’s wishes, or bequeathing to the world one of the most precious literary treasuries known by mankind, Brod opted for the latter.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is committed to preserve and divulge the legacies of the saviors, such as Raoul Wallenberg and his likes. As far as we are concerned, saviors are not only those who rescued human lives, but also those, like Max Brod, who rescued cultural assets.

To be sure, saving lives cannot be equated to saving a cultural heritage.

Brod did not face the same perils as those who during the Shoah risked their lives to save others, but nonetheless the transcendence of his decision was far-reaching for generations to come.

Can one imagine what would the world look like without Kafka’s legacy? We cannot. That’s why we have an infinite debt of gratitude to Max Brod.

Baruch Tenembaum
The writer is the founder of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation