Born within a family of Ashkenazi Jews, Franz Kafka was born in Prague on July 3, 1883.

Franz Kafka was a novelist and short story writer, widely regarded as one of the leading literary figures of the 20th century because of his visionary and deeply enigmatic stories that often presented a grotesque world view in which individuals carried guilt, isolation, and anxiety makes a futile search for personal salvation.

Kafka was the eldest of six brothers. Two of them, Georg and Heinrich, died at fifteen and six months of age, respectively, before Franz was seven years old.

Also, the writer had three sisters: Gabriele, Valerie and Ottilie. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Nazis took the three sisters to the Łódź ghetto.

Unfortunately, Ottilie was taken from there to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and on 7 October 1943 to the Auschwitz death camp, where she died that same day in the gas chambers, as well as 1,318 other people who had just arrived. The other two sisters also perished in the Holocaust.

The young man Franz Kafka He did not have many friends and calmed his solitude by reading the works of JW von Goethe, Blaise Pascal, Gustav Flaubert and Soren Kierkegaard.

Kafka died in the spring of 1924 after a long fight against tuberculosis, a disease that caused him pain when eating.

Kafka at 5 years old (1888). Wikimedia Commons

He was a vegetarian and was interested in gardening

Once Kafka looked at a fish in an aquarium and said, “Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore ». The writer ate vegetarian dishes instead of meat, for ethical and aesthetic reasons.

Contemporaries describe him as a person who kept his body in good shape with regular exercises and frequent walks.

With his growing interest in a possible emigration to Palestine, Kafka also became interested in gardening so that he could grow his own vegetables.

He was a co-owner of an asbestos factory

In 1911, Kafka’s brother-in-law, Karl Hermann, convinced Kafka to be a co-owner of a factory known as Prager Asbestwerke Hermann and Co. After initial enthusiasm, Kafka was soon annoyed by these long-standing obligations. prevented writing.

I was 31 years old when I finally lived alone

It was on Bílkova Street in Prague that little Franz lived alone for the first time. But it was not really his wish to rent his own flat. It was the time of the First World War.

Her brothers-in-law were drafted into the army, and her sisters had to return to their parents. So little Franz had to find his own place.

Franz Kafka was a doctor of law

He studied a law degree at the famous Charles University in Prague and received a doctorate in law.

He then worked in the civil and criminal courts, and then worked in entities that managed benefits for accidents and occupational diseases, just in a time of intense historical tensions (World War I) and abrupt socio-industrial transformations.

The metamorphosis is a story by Franz Kafka published in 1915 and that tells the story of Gregorio Samsa, a fabric merchant who supports his family with his salary, until after a night that he does not remember, wakes up turned into a huge insect similar to a cockroach.

Could have invented the helmet

Perhaps taking too literal an approach to protect his sensitive head from nightmares, Kafka devised a new invention.

While working at the Institute for Work Accident Insurance in Prague, Kafka ingeniously realized that the workers were having many accidents. So he invented a hat that made workers significantly safer.

At least, that’s the story. Austrian management professor Peter Drucker claimed that it really happened, but apparently it is the only one, and he does not have much evidence of it.

Franz Kafka worked selling insurance

Before being known as one of the leading figures in 20th century literature, Franz Kafka lived off his job as an insurance clerk in his native Prague.

This job did not generate enough money to allow Kafka to write full time, so he and his friend Max Brod decided to supplement their income by writing a guide for tourists in Europe.

Burn everything!

Franz Kafka asked his friend Max Brod to burn all of his unpublished manuscripts after his death. Brod did not comply, posting The Trial and other Kafka classics posthumously.

A kafkaesco legacy

Kafka, and his literary genius, was celebrated only after his death, when Max Brod went against his requests. Kafka’s work was highly praised especially during World War II, and greatly influenced German literature.
As the 1960s took shape and Eastern Europe came under the rule of bureaucratic communist governments, Kafka’s writing resonated particularly strongly with readers.
The stories Kafka created about man and faceless organizations were so vivid and vibrant that a new term was introduced in the English lexicon: “Kafkaesque.”
The intensity of Kafka’s value as a litterateur was quantified in 1988, when his The Trial manuscript was sold at auction for $ 1.98 million, which at the time was the highest price ever paid for a modern manuscript.
The buyer, a West German book dealer, was excited after completing his purchase: “This is perhaps the most important work in German literature of the 20th century,” he said, “and Germany had to have it.”

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