On a recent visit to lovely Prague, I called in at the Franz Kafka Society in the historic Josefov or Jewish Quarter, surrounded by the touristic Old Town. And it seems an appropriate time to post about the Society since, as the site says, “we are sorry to announce that niece of Franz Kafka, daughter of his loved sister Ottla Mrs. Věra Saudková passed away on 3rd August 2015. She used to be a member of the Franz Kafka Society since its establishing.”
The Society’s work revolves around the Franz Kafka Center, an attractive enough visit in itself. Its programs “include the holding of literary evenings, debates, specialized lectures and seminars. Over a hundred book titles have been published to date in its Franz Kafka Publishing House.” Furthermore, “the Society owns a unique replica of Franz Kafka´s private library comprising close to 1,000 period volumes. It also runs a specialized library containing a valuable collection of secondary literatary sources on Prague German literature. The Society organizes the Franz Kafka Prize, the only international literary prize awarded in the Czech Republic.”
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether Kafka is truly best categorized as a Czech, German, or Jewish writer. Visiting Prague and the Society, though, it’s hard to conceive of him living or writing anywhere else. And it’s a fitting memorial to a time and a place when all those elements came together, naturally and organically.