LONDON (Jun. 24)
The city of Prague paid tribute last night to the late Jewish writer Franz Kafka in a ceremony described as “emotionally moving and politically significant,” it was reported here today from the Czechoslovak capital.
The ceremony was held at the opening of a large exhibition of documents, photographs, manuscripts and letters about Kafka’s life. He died in 1924 at 41. Until last year the official Communist attitude towards Kafka was that he represented “bourgeois decadence” and “cosmopolitanism.”
The principal guest was Max Brod, Kafka’s life-long friend and editor, who flew to Prague from his home in Tel Aviv. Mr. Brod, with tears in his eyes, described his late friend as having had “a positive attitude toward life.” He recalled that Kafka was one of the 20th Century’s first writers to deal with the forces of alienation and loneliness which affect man, but stressed that Kafka had “a Joyful nature,” being intensely interested in sport and the theater.
The second speaker was Edward Goldstuecker, Czechoslovakia’s leading authority on Kafka, Dr. Goldstuecker was recently released from prison after serving a sentence as co-defendant of the executed Czech-Jewish Communist leader Rudolph Slansky, who was convicted during the infamous “Slansky Purge trials” in 1957. Dr. Goldstuecker indicated that the exhibition which was attended by high-ranking Ministry of Culture officials meant that the Communist regime had fully rehabilitated the works of Kafka.