1865-1922. Baghdad merchant. Kadoorie was a member of a Baghdadi family that acquired great wealth in Shanghai and Hong Kong. He founded two agricultural schools for boys in Palestine, one at Tulkarm for Arabs and one near Mount Tabor for Jews. His brother, Sir Elly Silas (1867-1944), also set up agricultural training centres in Palestine and schools in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. Sir Elly's sons Lawrence (1899-1993) and Horace (b. 1902.) were leading citizens of Hong Kong.
1883-1924. Writer. Kafka was born in Prague on 3 July 1883. The fact that he was brought up among Czechs as a German-speaking Jew may have contributed to a feeling of alienation, reinforced by a domineering father and chronic ill-health.
Kafka studied law at the German University in Prague, without any particular inclination for the subject, and obtained his doctorate in 1906. He then took up a permanent job, first in a law office and later in an insurance company, and his work permitted him to write only in his spare time. Despite this limitation and frequent bouts of insomnia and migraine, he wrote obsessively, and published a number of novels and collections of short stories and sketches. He never married, having broken off an abortive engagement in 1914. In 1917, he was found to have contracted tuberculosis, and was in and out of sanitoria for the rest of his life. His friend Max Brod, to whom his manuscripts were entrusted, published them posthumously, ignoring the author's dying request to have them burnt.
The themes of metaphysical confusion and human despair permeate such major works as The Trial (Ger. 1925; Eng. 1937), The Castle (Ger. 1916; Eng. 1930) and America (Ger. 1927; Eng. 1938). The protagonist's unceasing quest for identity is a futile one; no explanation is given or even possible. Gregor Samsa, in Metamorphosis, is transformed into an insect in his sleep; how, why, what the change means, are questions left unanswered. In The Trial, Joseph K. is arrested for an unnamed crime and arraigned before a mysterious 'Kafkaesque' tribunal. Kafka had an enormous influence on the next generation of intellectuals, who could find no coherent meaning in life and took refuge in existentialism and the cult of the absurd.
b. 1893. Soviet politician. Kaganovich, born in Kiev, came from a working-class family. He joined the Bolsheviks in 1911 and was active in the revolutionary underground. From 1914 he was a member of the Communist Party's Kiev committee and played an active role in the period leading up to the October Revolution of 1917, rising rapidly in the party hierarchy. In 1930 he became a member of the nine-man committee which controled the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and remained in the Politburo until his fall from grace in 1957. Known as the party's 'trouble-shooter' he was largely responsible for the construction of the Neprostroi (the giant hydro