Jacob Frank

1726-1791. Founder of the sect called “Frankists.” Born Jankiev Lebowicz, son of a rabbi in Poland, he early came under the influence of the Sabbatarians (the Shabbetai- Tzevi) and later also, when visiting Turkey, of the Jewish Donmeh sect. He declared himself to be an embodiment of the Messiah and adopted a doctrine of the Holy Trinity in which he was the holy king. Returning to his homeland, he was attacked by the Talmudists and eventually he and his followers became Catholics, professing conversion to Christianity. After Frank allowed himself to be worshiped as the Messiah, however, he was imprisoned and released only when the Russians partitioned Poland in 1773. He then resided in Vienna and other places before his death in Offenbach. His daughter Eve continued to lead his followers.