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25 July 1778 he was elevated to nobility in Vienna, becoming Franz Thomas Edler von Schönfeld. Together with Ephraim Joseph Hirschfeld (de), who did not convert, he became one of the main conspirators of the “Knights of St. John the Evangelists for Asia in Europe,” a secret society of freemasons, which was much talked about in Germany and Austria between 1783 and 1790, not least because it was the first German-speaking fraternal order to accept Jews.
In 1792, in the wake of the French Revolution, he traveled via Strasbourg to Paris and became a Jacobin, changing his name, once again, to Junius Frey. The new name derived from Junius from the Roman Junii-family that fostered the famous tyrant slayers the Brutus', and Frey being the German transliteration for "liberty".
He was arrested for treason and espionage and executed by guillotine on 5 April 1794 in connection with the case against his brother-in-law François Chabot.