Artist Sebastian Jung next to his work "Three Sisters", © Sebastian Jung 2023, Photo: Jewish Museum Munich / Daniel Schvarcz

Kafka’s Sisters

On June 3, 1924, Franz Kafka died in a sanatorium near Vienna having suffered from tuberculosis for several years and was buried on June 11 in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague. The posthumous publication of his works and ultimately world fame ensued.
While Franz Kafka’s life is recorded in countless biographies, his three sisters have remained largely in the shadows. The most is known about the youngest sister Ottilie (Ottla) who was a close confidant of her brothers throughout his lifetime and with whom she enjoyed a lively correspondence. Gabriele (Elli) and Valerie (Valli) appear only as marginal figures in their brother’s biography and writings. After Kafka’s early death, the life histories of the three become blurred. Most biographies simply note that Kafka’s sisters were murdered in German death camps in 1942/43.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death, we are commemorating Elli, Valli, and Ottla in an installation by the artist Sebastian Jung. Their biographies stand for the extermination of German-speaking Jews in Prague, for whom their brother is celebrated today as a symbolic figure.

Installation view “Three Sisters” (detail), © Sebastian Jung 2023, Photo: Jewish Museum Munich / Daniel Schvarcz

An installation by the artist Sebastian Jung in the foyer of the Jewish Museum Munich as part of the festival KAFKA 2024

January 18 – September 29, 2024 | Jewish Museum Munich | Installation in the foyer