U.S. President Donald Trump signs a revised executive order for a U.S. travel ban at the Pentagon in Washington. Picture:
A letter authored by Donald Trump’s grandfather Freidrich Trump, begging German authorities not to deport him, has now been published in full in the latest issue of Harper’s magazine.
The note, written in 1905 and unearthed by a German tabloid last November, is addressed to the "Most Serene, Most Powerful" Prince Luitpold of Bavaria.
It obsequiously beseeches him to allow Trump and his family to remain living in Germany.
The elder Trump was born in the Bavarian town of Kallstadt in 1869 and emigrated to the United States at the age of 16, thereby avoiding mandatory military service (a talent inherited by his grandson).
He went on to make a fortune in the US through restaurant and real estate ventures and returned to Kallstadt in 1901 a wealthy man.
He shortly after met his wife Elisabeth Christ and the couple married in 1902.
Friedrich Trump wished to stay in Bavaria, as he explained in his letter, because his wife could not tolerate the climate of New York, and he wanted to care for his own elderly mother at home.
However, a few years later, when German authorities discovered he had illegally dodged the draft as a teenager, Trump’s German citizenship was revoked and he was ordered to leave, or face deportation.
In his desperation to stay, Trump wrote to the monarch:
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.
"Our happy family life was tarnished." This is a deportation story—featuring Donald Trump's grandfather. https://t.co/leq99MGZ7C
The translated letter has been raising a few eyebrows, given President Donald Trump’s stated ambition to deport undocumented migrants living in the US, and his renewed commitment to the travel ban, blocking entry to the US for all citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.
Many think he should instead be heeding the words of his grandfather, who outlined the struggles and terrors of an immigrant family facing imminent expulsion from their home town.
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.
However Trump’s petition to Prince Luitpold fell on deaf ears.
His appeal against deportation was rejected in court and the order was upheld.
On July 1, 1905, the Trump family finally left Germany for good.
Friedrich Trump wound up back in New York, and three month's later Donald Trump's father was born in Queens.