1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9 

Franz Kafka

Gabrielle 'Ellie' Kafka

Franz Kafka was the first child born to Hermann and Julie (ne Lwy) Kafka on July 3, 1883, in Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1885 Kafka's mother gave birth to Georg Kafka, who died a year later; and in 1887 Heinrich Kafka Valerie 'Valli' Kafka was born, who also died less than a year later. Gabrielle "Elli" Kafka was born on September 22, 1889; Valerie "Valli" Kafka on September 25, 1890; and Ottilie "Ottla" Kafka on October 29, 1892. Ottla would become Franz' favorite sister; all of his sisters perished in concentration camps in World War II.

Ottilie 'Ottla' Kafka

Kafka's father, Herrmann, was a self-made man; the son of a butcher, he had moved to Prague from Wossek and opened a general goods store, which became quite successful. He was ambitious and somewhat disappointed in his only son's lack of ambition. He also had little patience for Kafka's vegetarianism. To say that the father and son had issues would probably be an understatement; his father figures quite prominently throughout several of Kafka's works (Das Urteil, Die Verwandlung).

Max Brod

Young Franz was sent to German schools - his father considered German the language of the Empire's elite and wanted his family to advance socially. Kafka did well in school and graduated in 1901. He attended Charles Ferdinand University in Praque and first studied chemistry, but switched to law after two weeks. The next semester he switched to German literature, but switched back again to law. It was at the university that Kafka met Max Brod. In June 1906, Kafka graduated with a doctorate in law.

Franz Kafka und Felice Bauer

In 1908, Kafka began work at the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute, where he spent most of his "professional" life. Max Brod, his writer friend from the university, started pushing Kafka to write more. Through Brod, Kafka met Felice Bauer in 1912, in Berlin. Kafka's relationships with women were always problematic. He had occasionally engaged the services of prostitutes, but appeared to be disgusted by the mechanics of sex. He seemed to be unable to merge a healthy, physical relationship with the oppoite sex to the idealistic, platonic relationships he most often appeared to pursue with his letters. He seems to share this characteristic with Rainer Maria Rilke. At any rate, next to his father, his problems with women were probably a great inspiration for many of his stories.