Grete Bloch


Grete Bloch was a friend of Felice Bauer’s and five years her junior. Between 1913-1914 she was a mediator between Kafka and Felice Bauer during their first crisis. She was born in Berlin and held similar jobs to Felice. She worked for an office-equipment company and like Felice saw rapid promotion. She met Felice five months after Kafka, in early 1913. When, towards the end of that year, Kafka’s relationship with Felice foundered for a while, she went off to Prague as an intermediary. She and Kafka then corresponded regularly for a year, with Kafka writing her over 70 letters. Grete Bloch subsequently played a major role at the ‘tribunal’ at the Askanischer Hof hotel in Berlin in July 1914, when the engagement between Felice and Kafka was broken off. Grete presented Kafka’s letters which were humiliating to Felice. She maintained her friendly ties with Felice. In the 1930s, she willingly left Germany into exile, going first to Israel and later to Italy. At that time she handed some of the letters she had received from Kafka over to Felice Bauer-Marasse, then living in Switzerland. In Italy during the war, Grete Bloch was interned as a Jew and subsequently deported to a concentration camp where she died, although the date and location of her death remain unknown.
In 1940, Grete Bloch wrote to a friend in Israel that years earlier she had given birth to a boy child who had died in Munich at the age of seven. On the basis of the dates given, the letter’s recipient and Max Brod expressed the opinion that Kafka had been the child’s father. Subsequent research has refuted that conjecture; on the contrary, a whole number of factors, including the integrity of the letter’s author, prove it to have been a false assumption.