Franz Kafka’s paternal grandfather

was a kosher butcher at Osek near Písek. A giant of a man endowed with enormous physical strength, he passed on his physical prowess to his children, including Hermann Kafka. He was not allowed to marry prior to 1848, the year when the provisions in Austrian legislation designed to limit the number of Jewish families were abolished. Consequently, Hermann’s two older siblings Filip and Anna, were born de jure out of wedlock. His mother was Franziska Platowski, the next-door neighbour’s daughter.

Franz Kafka’s paternal grandmother

was a kindly woman, esteemed in the village for her healing abilities. She lived with her husband and six children, Filip, Anna, Heinrich, Hermann, Julie and Ludwig, in straitened circumstances.

Franz Kafka’s maternal grandfather

hailed from Humpolec where he was a textile merchant. He moved to Poděbrady, where he got married. He married the daughter of the wealthy Porias family, which owned a textile business and subsequently bought a brewery as well. In the 1870s, similarly to many other Jews who were leaving the countryside in search of greater security in cities, Jakob Löwy moved with his family to Prague, where he became a hop merchant.

Franz Kafka’s maternal grandmother

Franz Kafka had a particular feeling for the legacy of her family. Apart from adventurous businessmen, it included pious scholars, recluses and timid eccentrics. Four children issued from the marriage of Esther Porias and Jakob Löwy: Alfred, Julie, Richard and Joseph. Esther died young in suspicious circumstances which possibly resulted in the death of her mother. Very soon afterwards Jakob Löwy married Julie Heller, and Kafka’s mother acquired two further brothers from the second marriage: Franz’s uncles Rudolf and Siegfried Löwy.