Solving a Literary Mystery

The Kafka Project is the third official search to recover the last writings of Franz Kafka, working on behalf of the Kafka Estate of London, England. Under the auspices of San Diego State University's College of Arts and Letters since 1998, the Kafka Project has worked with the German government for the discovery and return of Kafka's unpublished letters and notebooks. Building on the results of the last search conducted by Max Brod and Klaus Wagenbach in the mid-1950s, the Kafka Project is a non-profit volunteer organization, funded by donations, pooling resources, skills and knowledge to resolve a literary mystery.

On June 3, 1924, Franz Kafka died of tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Austria, in the arms of Dora Diamant, his last love and companion. Before his death and at his insistence, Dora burned his work. But she saved much more, including 35 letters and 20 notebooks, which were confiscated from her apartment in Berlin in 1933. The first attempt to recover this literary treasure was conducted by Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor. Since all parties were Jewish, the search was short-lived. After WWII, Brod enlisted Klaus Wagenbach in Berlin, and the second search ended with the closing of Eastern Europe under the Soviets. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of archives made it possible to rejoin the search in 1997. WIth a letter of permission from the Kafka Estate in London, England, the Kafka Project began in Berlin in 1998. Three decades on, the process continues there today.

Who is Kafka?

Who is Dora Diamant?

What do Kafka’s lost papers consist of?

Why is the Kafka Project important?

Who is involved?

How will the Kafka Project find the papers?

The Latest from the Project

Kafka’s Doll Screens at Comic Con in San Diego

Inspired by a true story, Kafka’s Doll is an animated short film that blends factual factual research, fiction, fantasy and myth into a single heart-warming story about loss. The film is produced by Studio Kimchi. Kafka's Doll screens Saturday, July 22 12:30 pm Grand Ballroom 6 (San Diego Marriott Marquis). Learn more about the animated film. Watch the film's trailer.

New Kafka Film in Production

A new movie currently shooting, "The Glory of Life” is inspired by the love story between Kafka and Dora Diamant. The drama was written by Michael Gutmann and Georg Maas. Mass is alo directing. Producers are Helge Sasse and Solveig Fina for Tempest Film and Tommy Pridnig for Lotus Film. Read the article in Variety about the film.

News from Berlin: Geis Joins Kafka Project

The Kafka Project is back in business after a three-year COVID hiatus. In February 2023, Dr. Christoph Geis took the lead for the Kafka Project research in Berlin, taking the reins from Dr. Hans-Gerd Koch, who, in 2015, with Dr. Peter Andre Alt, assumed the leadership and had worked with the Ministry of Culture to gain support and funding at the federal level to uncover and catalog an unopened archive in Berlin. In 2019, Dr. Koch wrote an article for Suddeutsche Zeitung, reporting that the still-secret archive, known as Section IX-ll, contains papers and other documents confiscated from German communists, and possibly could be the repository of the papers taken from the Pariser Strasse apartment of Dora Diamant (Dymant-Lask) in 1933.  While Dr. Koch has stepped down to complete the final volume of the critical edition of Kafka’s letters, he remains an essential advisor to Dr. Geis and the Project. Read Dr. Koch’s article Mountain's of Files.

A retired psychologist and psychotherapist specializing in trauma, Dr. Geis’ scientific approach to Kafka led him to complete a Ph.D., Franz Kafka and the World Approaches in the 21st Century; Reading Kafka as an aid to regain language and reflexivity in times of destructive life-world experiences, from  the University of Koblenz-Landau in 2022. Dr. Geis is uniquely qualified to continue the research in Germany, and is interfacing with the German federal and state archives in the search for the missing writings of Franz Kafka, confiscated from Dora Diamant (Dymant-Lask) by the Gestapo in 1933. We are enormously grateful for his skill, time, and efforts.

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