Wish I knew Kafka


January 28, 2010

“Kafka was a slightly strange man,” Sommer recalls. “He used to come to our house, sit and talk with my mother, mainly about his writing. He did not talk a lot, but rather loved quiet and nature.

Alice Herz-Sommer, who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday, is a pianist and a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps; she recalls her time in Prague:

We frequently went on trips together. I remember that Kafka took us to a very nice place outside Prague. We sat on a bench and he told us stories. I remember the atmosphere and his unusual stories. He was an excellent writer, with a lovely style, the kind that you read effortlessly,” she says, and then grows silent. “And now, hundreds of people all over the world research and write doctorates about him.”

She says she knows about the ongoing trial in Israel, at the center of which is the question of who owns the rights to Kafka’s estate. “Kafka would have been against this.

Don’t forget that he asked his friend Max Brod not to publish his writings. That much I know,” says Sommer – she is the last person alive who knew Kafka personally.

More here.