Exceedingly rare twice-signed letter by Franz Kafka, asking for news on the health of his 'guardian angel,' Dr. Robert Klopstock
Rare ALS in German, signed twice, “Dr. Kafka,” one page on a 5.5 x 3.5 postcard, postmarked July 21, 1922. Handwritten letter to "Dr. Steinfest" in the medical settlement of Tatranská Kotlina, inquiring about the health of his close friend, Dr. Robert Klopstock. In full (translated): "Klopstock, with whom I am friends, wrote to me regularly at the beginning of summer, but he has not written for a long time. I have to assume that he is seriously ill, and I kindly ask you, dear doctor, to write me a few words about it. If I am wrong, the better, then Klopstock will write to me himself. In any case, thank you very much for the information and help." Addressed on the reverse in Kafka's hand, incorporating his signature, "Dr. Kafka," into the return address area. In fine condition, with minor loss to the lower left corner tip. Franz Kafka and Robert Klopstock first met in 1920 while the two were patients at a tuberculosis sanatorium, Matliary, in the Tatra Mountains of Czechoslovakia (in present-day Slovakia). When Kafka wrote this postcard in 1922, Klopstock was serving as a medical assistant under Dr. Steinfest in a hospital in Tatranská Kotlina, not far from Matliary. Kafka, fearing for Klopstock’s health after a period of lapsed correspondence, inquires about the state of his friend. Their correspondence soon resumed, and evolved into a friendship of 'fiercely possessive devotion,' according to Kafka's biographer Ernst Pawel. In fact, it would be Kafka's health that soon declined—his laryngeal tuberculosis worsened in 1924, and Klopstock was caring for Kafka at his death-bed on June 3, 1924, in Kierling, not far from Vienna. Klopstock's wife, Gizela, translated the first chapters of Kafka's novel The Trial into Hungarian. Kafka's letters are exceedingly rare—we have sold just one in the past twenty years.