Historians of Frankism and their Sources: Forgers, Publishers and Interpreters

prof. dr hab. Jan Doktór

Historians of Frankism and their Sources: Forgers, Publishers and Interpreters

Near all historical works on Frankism have one thing in common, that thing being an uncritical use of source materials. Meanwhile, in my opinion, many documents of fundamental significance for our knowledge of Frankism were quite simply forged. In this article I focus on evidence concerning Eva Frank’s court in Offenbach, and Goliński’s denunciations during Frank’s stay in Brno. 
The sole preserved sources concerning Ewa Frank’s court in Offenbach are the reminiscences of Moses Porges, of which there are two versions, the miraculously found transcripts of the testimony of three Frankist defectors from 1800 from Fürth, one of whom was the said Porges, and also a similar record of questioning from Kolin. These testimonies corroborate one another but they clash with historical facts. 
Similar reservations concern Frank’s denunciations at the imperial court from 1774 and 1776. Frank’s departure for Brno in 1773 did not mean that the Jews forgot about him. He remained the enemy No. 1 of all Jewry, with only his bodyguards and the Emperor’s protections sparing him from revenge. Przed zemstą chroniła go jedynie gwardia przyboczna i protekcja cesarska. Almost as soon as he arrived in Brno and Vienna, denunciations started pouring in against the detested neophyte. The investigations demonstrated that these were nothing but allegations from Jews seeking to compromise Frank in the eyes of the authorities. One of the denunciations was signed not be a Jew but by one Jakub Galiński, who insisted that he received baptism together with Frank but then renounced it and was now revealing the secrets of Frank and his sect. 
The information provided in the denunciation often clashes with our historical knowledge and with the knowledge that Rabbi of Gliniany and a person close to a Frank follower should have of the developments of the years 1755–1760. The source, historical though it is, contributes little to our knowledge of Frank or Frankists, and what it does contribute concerns the encircling of Frank and his companions by their Jewish enemies, who, while unable to lay their hands on him, were fairly effective when it came to discrediting him with his current or potential protectors.Keywords:Frankism; Ewa Frank; Offenbach; heresy; Sabbatianism

 

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