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Ottla Kafka
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Celebrity's Relative
    (October 29, 1892-1943)
    Born in Prague, Czech Republic
    Ottilie Kafka (later Ottilie David)
    Youngest sister of Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924)
    Supported her brother in his work, often helping him financially
    Acted as caretaker to her brother after his diagnosis with tuberculosis, in 1917
    Died in the Auschwitz concentration camp, sometime in 1943
    Longterm correspondence with her brother was published, in 1974, as 'Letters to Ottla' ('Briefe an Ottla und die Familie')
    She bore a creepy physical resemblance to her older brother (they looked almost like identical twins).
    She entered into an ill-advised union with a Czech-Catholic jurist, Josef David, against the wishes of her father.
    Although her family's opposition could have been over the interfaith marriage, the two seemed to have nothing in common with personalities almost completely opposite.
    For instance, while Josef was known for being a hearty meat-eater, Ottla had adopted her brother's vegetarianism long ago. He was loud, boisterous and outgoing, she reserved, humble and reticent.
    Not surprisingly, the marriage didn't make for a happy union, even though they had two children in the first three years. In 1942, after twenty-two years, they filed for a divorce.
    Her 'correspondences' contain letters written from her brother to her, but contain no letters in her hand sent to him (the letters are presumed to have been destroyed, although letters do exist in her hand addressed to her husband).
    There's a running trend among scholars to claim that he 'prophesied' her death in the Holocaust based on his works like 'The Penal Colony' and 'The Trial,' when it was in all likelihood a weird coincidence.
    She was soft-spoken but also held strong feminist views uncommon to the era.
    Franz Kafka made it clear in his letters that Ottla was his 'favorite sister.'
    Kafka particularly appreciated his youngest sister's willingness to stand up to their controlling father, inspiring him to the same when he pursued his writing.
    Her importance to Kafka's writing career was comparable to that of Max Brod..
    However, where Brod acted as Franz's artistic mentor, Ottla provided her brother with locales/spaces in which he could write (she understood his need for absolute solitude).
    She rented the small house in the Alchimistengasse, in 1916, which led to one of her brother's most creative phases (he wrote 'A Country Doctor' there).
    She provided Franz Kafka with refuge in the Bohemien village of Zurau after he took ill with TB, which also proved beneficial to his work output.
    Her divorce was part of a plan she had devised to grant her children immunity from the Nuremberg Laws (they would be in the custody of her Aryan husband).
    After the divorce she cleaned out her apartment, packed a rucksack, and went to the Gestapo to register as a Jewess. She was promptly sent to Theresienstadt.
    Her daughters sought to be admitted into the concentration camp to be with her, but were turned away by the Nazis because 'the law' did not apply to them or their father.
    She selflessly volunteered to accompany a transport of orphans bound for the death camp at Auschwitz, where they were all gassed to death. Her two elder sisters, Valli and Elli, also perished in the camps.
    Her letters from Franz were carefully preserved by her children after they learnt of her death, along with family photographs, postcards, and drawings by her brother, and would later be acquired by the Bodleian Library at Oxford, in 2011.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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