London, Jan 21 (ANI): An Israeli court has ordered two sisters to throw open their cat-infested flat where their deceased mum treasured Franz Kafka's manuscripts.
Kafka scholars believe the literary archive could give new insight into the life and works of the master Czech storyteller.
Experts are also suggesting that the flat may even have some unseen original work by Kafka.
Only Eva Hoffe and her sister Ruth Wisler have knowledge of what is written in the manuscripts, which they have safely transferred to bank lockers.
The elderly sisters were passed on the manuscripts by their mum Esther Hoffe, who was the secretary of Kafka's friend and executor, Max Brod.
But her will is being challenged by the National Library of Israel, which believes she had no right to pass on the documents to her daughters.
A judge asked the sisters to strike a deal with the library within 15 days or the bank vault would be opened without their consent with the papers catalogued.
Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and few knew the Jewish author at the in1924. He had only from published a few short stories but had numerous unpublished writings, many of which were incomplete.n his will he ordered Brod to collect all his diaries, letters and manuscripts which "should be burned unread and without remnant".
However, he published Kafka's work. In 1939 when the Nazis attacked Czechoslovakia, he stuffed the writings into suitcases and came to Tel Aviv.
Without Brod works like Metamorphosis, The Castle and Amerika would never have come to light.
When Brod died 1968 a lot of Kafka's work was passed to his secretary Mrs Hoffe.
"It is a 40-year outrage that no-one was allowed to see it, especially by a woman who claimed to be protecting his legacy," the Telegraph quoted Nurit Pegi, who is writing a doctoral dissertation on Brod at Tel Aviv University, as saying.
Mrs Hoffe was suspected of selling items from the priceless archive.
Even after she allowed Israel's state archive to catalogue the collection, many believed she has hidden the most valuable writings.
In 1988 she made a 1.1 million pound deal with a book dealer acting on behalf of the German government for an original manuscript of The Trial.
The latest legal battle began in 2008, after Mrs Hoffe died at 101 years of age, passing on her apartment and the papers to her daughters.
"Max Brod's will ordered her to make the proper arrangements to have the manuscripts placed in the public archives. She failed to do that and has tried to pass on this responsibility to her daughters," Meir Heller, a lawyer for the National Library of Israel, said.
However, a lawyer for her daughter Eva Hoffe said she was planning to challenge the decision, as Mr Brod's will did "not preclude selling [the papers] overseas or passing them on to her daughters". (ANI)