Advocates and Allies: Kafka’s True Love

Advocates and Allies: Kafka’s True Love

Milena Jesenská

Life: August 10, 1896 – May 17, 1944

Why you should know her: Milena Jesenská was a Czech writer, journalist, and member of the resistance against the Nazis.

Born in Prague, Milena was a member of the city’s literary circles before moving to Vienna.

In 1919, Milena was working as a translator when she first met the renowned writer Franz Kafka. Translating Kafka’s work, she also began a correspondence with him that lasted until his death in 1924.

When World War II began and the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia, Milena turned her attentions from literature to the resistance. As Czech Jews began to flee for their lives, Milena’s home became a way station for them. There, she provided them food, shelter, and the false papers that would allow them to escape certain death.

Milena, however, would not escape. Believing that she was in less danger than the Jews she helped, Milena did not flee. On November 11, 1939, the Nazis arrested her. Detained in several Nazi prisons, Milena finally ended up in Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she died on May 17, 1944, only three weeks before D-Day. But because of her selfless actions that saved the lives of countless Jews, Milena Jesenská was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1994.

Tags: Advocacy IFCJ IFCJ in the News Inspiration Partnerships and People Stories

More From Fellowship Blog

Fellowship Blog

Pray with The Fellowship’s Bishop Lanier

During this time, The Fellowship is turning to prayer – and we want to pray for people on the front lines, for people affected by the virus, and for you, too.

Fellowship Blog

New Israelis Zigzag Their Way to Holy Land on Fellowship Freedom Flight

Despite fear and uncertainty during the coronavirus crisis, 31 Brazilian Jews have at last made aliyah with The Fellowship.

Fellowship Blog

Project Spotlight: Emergency Deliveries for Passover

Just before Passover, we’ve mobilized our staff and volunteers to provide emergency deliveries of food boxes to the most vulnerable – Holocaust survivors and elderly.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.