When Donald Trump’s German grandfather, Friedrich Trump, returned to his native Germany from the U.S. in 1905, he was ordered by a royal decree to leave the country and never return. In response, he wrote a letter to Luitpold, Prince regent of Bavaria, pleading not to be deported.
Born in 1869 in the village of Kallstadt, in the Rhineland region, Friedrich Trump left Germany in 1885, at the age of 16, and emigrated to the U.S. During the two decades he lived in the U.S. young Trump trained as a barber and later established a small restaurant and bar. He also allegedly operated a brothel.
He also obtained U.S. citizenship.
After he became fairly wealthy, he decided to return with his fortune, wife and daughter to his native Bavaria in Germany, according to the Independent.
However, after he returned to Germany in 1905, the authorities gave him only eight weeks to leave the country. The German authorities accused Trump of failing to register his emigration to the U.S. 20 years earlier and that he did not complete a mandatory military service before he left.
Friedrich apparently sneaked out of Germany to avoid the military draft.
Distraught about the decision to deport him, Friedrich wrote a letter to the authorities begging not to be deported. The impassioned tone of letter, translated from the original German language into English, is filled with theatrical and exaggeratedly emotive expressions meant to portray to the authorities his distress about the order to leave the country.
In the letter published recently by Harper magazine, Trump wrote that the notification from the German High Royal State Ministry that he must leave the country within eight weeks came to him and his family like a “lightning strike from fair skies.”
“We were paralyzed with fright, our happy family life was tarnished,” he wrote melodramatically. “My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.”
“Why should we be deported? This is very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree?”
The full text of the letter, addressed to Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, follows below.
“Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
Despite the letter to the prince regent, the Bavarian authorities deported Trump. He finally settled in New York with his family.
President Donald Trump’s critics claim that the Bavarian authorities apparently ordered Friedrich Trump to leave Germany to punish him for dodging the military draft by sneaking out of the country. Donald Trump’s detractors also accuse him of dodging the military draft to Vietnam by claiming he had bone spurs in his heels, according to the New York Times.
Critics also note the irony in the fact that 100 years after Friedrich Trump returned to the U.S., his grandson, President Donald Trump, has imposed immigration restrictions that would have kept not only his wife Melania from coming to the U.S. but also his grandfather from coming to the country to make a fortune.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]