Eve Frank or Eva Frank (1754 – 1816 or 1817), born in Nikopol, Ottoman Empire (now Bulgaria) under the name Rebecca or Rachel, was a mystic cult leader, and the only woman to have been declared a Jewish messiah. She was the daughter of Jacob Frank, the claimant to the position of Jewish messiah in the 18th century, and, allegedly, Sophie Ascania/Catherine the Great.
Eve Frank received the name of Eve in 1760 upon the conversion of her family to Catholicism. For much of her life, she accompanied her father during his travels and after the death of her mother in 1770, the then 16-year-old Eve was declared to be the incarnation of the Shekinah, the female aspect of God, as well as the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary and thus became the object of a devotional subcult herself near the Catholic Marian shrine of Częstochowa, with some followers keeping small statues of her in their homes. According to historian Jerry Rabow, she was the only woman to have been declared a Jewish messiah.
Her father Jacob spread the rumor that Eve, who was often called "Eva Romanovna" at that point, was an illegitimate child of Catherine II of Russia. Father and daughter repeatedly traveled to Vienna, and succeeded in gaining the favor of the court.
Upon the death of her father in 1791, Eve became the "holy mistress" and leader of the cult. Frank and her two younger brothers, Josef and Rochus, assumed responsibility for the direction of the court. Many people continued to go up to Offenbach am Main, to Gottes Haus, as the believers called it.
In 1800, the Franks sent "red letters" (in red ink) to hundreds of Jewish communities encouraging conversion to Frankism. However, the Frank siblings had neither the stature nor the strength of personality required to keep the cult going and as time went on the number of pilgrims and supply of money diminished drastically, all the while Eve had continued to live in her accustomed luxury.
Death and controversy
She finally became heavily in debt (three million gulden in 1817), and died in poverty in 1816, though she was rumored to have escaped abroad after an arrest order from the Duke of Hesse. Nonetheless, her followers continued to exist well into the middle of 19th century; among these were the parents of Louis Brandeis, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
- Frank, Eva article by Rachel Elior in the Encyclopedia Judaica.
- Лжемессия: Яков Франк и франкисты, Z. Rubashev
- Maciejko, Paweł. The Mixed Multitude: Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement, 1755-1816. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011:170-6.
- Brawer, A. (1965). Galicia ve-Yehudeiha. pp. 197–275.
- 1788: Ein Messias im Isenburger Schloss - die "Frankisten" in Offenbach Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine, Lothar R. Braun
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- https://www.amazon.com/Louis-D-Brandeis-Melvin-Urofsky/dp/0375423664 Page 4
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herman Rosenthal and S. M. Dubnow (1901–1906). "Frank, Jacob and the Frankists". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Joseph Jacobs and Schulim Ochser (1901–1906). "Offenbach". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.