Moses Dobruška

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Moses Dobruška or Moses Dobruschka, alias Junius Frey (12 July 1753, Brno, Moravia – 5 April 1794) was a writer, poet and revolutionary. His mother was the first cousin of Jacob Frank, who claimed to be the Jewish messiah and founded the Frankist sect.[1][2]

On 17 December 1775 he converted from Judaism to the Catholic faith and took the name of Franz Thomas Schönfeld.[3] On 25 July 1778 he was elevated to nobility in Vienna, becoming Franz Thomas Edler von Schönfeld.[4] Together with Ephraim Joseph Hirschfeld [de], who did not convert, he became one of the main activists of the masonic lodge of the “Knights of St. John the Evangelists for Asia in Europe,” active in Germany and Austria between 1783 and 1790, which was the first German-speaking masonic order to accept Jews.[citation needed]

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 slayer Brutus, and Frey being a transliteration of the German word for "liberty". In June 1793 he published his book Philosophie sociale, dédiée au peuple françois.

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.[5]


  1. ^ Wölfle-Fischer, 1998, p. 42.
  2. ^ Davidowicz, 1998, pp. 41 & 127.
  3. ^ Wölfle-Fischer, 1998, pp. 46 & 141.
  4. ^ Wölfle-Fischer, Susanne, "Junius Frey, 1753-1794: Jude, Aristokrat und Revolutionär". P. Lang, 1998, p. 141.
  5. ^ Wölfle-Fischer, 1998, p. 141.


  • Greco, Silvana, Moses Dobruska and the Invention of Social Philosophy. Utopia, Judaism, and Heresy under the French Revolution. De Gruyter Oldenburg, 2022.
  • Greco, Silvana, Il sociologo eretico. Moses Dobruska e la sua Philosophie sociale (1793). Giuntina, 2021.
  • Wölfle-Fischer, Susanne, Junius Frey, 1753-1794: Jude, Aristokrat und Revolutionär. P. Lang, 1998.
  • Davidowicz, Klaus Samuel, Jakob Frank, der Messias aus dem Ghetto. P. Lang, 1998.