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The Untold Stories of Two Who Loved Franz Kafka

4/3/2003: (San Diego, CA.) Robert Klopstock and Dora Diamant have made a timely appearance with two new books that reveal undisclosed details about the literary giant Franz Kafka. Eighty years after Kafka’s death, and published within the same week, the life stories of the two people closest to Kafka at the end of his life--and about whom very little has been known until now--are told through their own personal papers, letters and documents.

The seven unpublished letters of Franz Kafka and Dora Diamant, part of the Robert Klopstock literary estate, will be on display for the first time at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, April 10-13, 2003 at Park Avenue Armory. Coincidentally, the first biography of Dora Diamant, entitled Kafka's Last Love, published by Basic Books, will be released that same week. Also at the Inlibris booth will be 38 partly unpublished letters from Franz Kafka, with postscripts by Dora Diamant, the 26-year old woman with whom Kafka lived in the last year of his life. The catalog of the collection, Kafkas Letzte Freund (Kafkas Last Friend), is edited by Hugo Wetscherek and published by Inlibris in Vienna.

News of the Klopstock estate made headlines in newspapers throughout Europe the first week of March when the collection was offered for sale, priced 1.2 million Euros. Dora's postscripts to Kafka's letters in the collection were hailed in the Times Literary Supplement (Feb 28, 2003) as "extraordinarily evocative texts" that "are of considerable biographical importance" in completing the last chapter of Kafka's life. Bound together by their love for Kafka, Dora and Dr. Klopstock called themselves the "little family." In the words of Kafka's friend and first biographer Max Brod, "These two referred to themselves playfully as Franz's ‘little family’; it was an intimate living together in the face of death."

Kafka's Last Love: The Mystery Of Dora Diamant, by Kathi Diamant (Basic Books, April, 2003) tells for the first time the story of the amazing woman who captured Kafka's heart and kept his literary flame alive for decades. Based on original sources and interviews including never-before-seen material from the Comintern and Gestapo archives and Dora's newly discovered diaries and letters, Kafka's Last Love corrects the information written about her in every Kafka biography, and reveals for the first time in English the last moment of Kafka’s life and his death in Dora’s arms.

Author Kathi Diamant is the Director of the Kafka Project, the first official search for Kafka’s missing papers, stolen from Dora by the Gestapo in 1933. A former television broadcaster and freelance journalist, Diamant spent more than 15 years searching in lost and forgotten archives for clues to the fate of the woman who was accused of burning Kafka's last writings, and retracing Dora’s steps in Poland, Germany, Russia, England, the Isle of Man and Israel.

Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant received positive reviews in Publishers Weekly (March 17, 2003) and Kirkus Reviews (Feb 15, 2003):

*"A welcome, well-written addition to Kafka studies, valuable in its portrayal of the writer as a human being, not a monument.” (Kirkus)

*"Franz Kafka's story is well known, Dora Diamant's is not. She was, as the title states, his "last love," and the author (no relation), director of the Kafka Project at San Diego State University, has assiduously tracked the traces of her subjects through personal recollections, private papers and newly opened archives in the former Soviet bloc." (PW)

*"The remarkable story continues in Moscow, London, San Francisco and Tel Aviv, the far-flung points of dispersal of a family caught in the maelstroms of fascism, communism and the Holocaust." (PW)

Note: Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka’s Last Love, and Hugo Wetscherek, editor of Kafka’s Letzte Freund, published by Inlibris, will be in New York for the Book Fair and available for interviews April 10-15. Kathi Diamant can be reached in San Diego at 619-528-1108, until April 8, or in New York through Betsy Lerner at The Gernert Company, (212) 838-6467, or Rachel Rokicki at Basic Books, (212) 340-8164.