More than 100 years ago, a fearful German citizen wrote a heartfelt letter to Luitpold, the prince regent of Bavaria, begging him to spare him and his family the pain of exile.
The man was Friedrich Trump, the draft dodging immigrant grandfather of President Donald Trump.
“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,” he lamented.“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.”
A German tabloid unearthed the letter last year, but the Harper’s magazine just published it in its entirety in their latest issue.
“I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869,” Trump explained. “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.”
Apparently, Trump left his home in 1885 to avoid mandatory military service, much like his grandson, and arrived in the New York City, where he eventually made a fortune through restaurant and real estate businesses.
“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,” he wrote.
In early 1900s, he married a woman named Elisabeth Christand returned to Kallstadt.
“The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen,” read the letter. “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.”
Meet Freidrich—Pimp, Profiteer and Patriarch of the Trump Line Exploiting the poor, draft-dodging and busty blondes turn out to be family traditions. https://goo.gl/YNC1sX . The nut didn't fall far from the tree. It has to be genetic. . . Excerpted from The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston, published by Melville House, and reprinted here with the permission of the publisher and the author, who retain all rights. Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of an IRE medal and the George Polk Award, David Cay Johnston is author of five books and the upcoming The Prosperity Tax: A New Federal Tax Code for the 21st Century Economy. He is a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management, and a columnist for The Daily Beast and Investopedia. . . #FriedrichTrump #DonaldTrump #grandfather #draftdodger #pimp #profiteer #DavidCay #book #PulitzerPrizeWinner #GeorgePolkAward #author #lecturer #SyracuseUniversityCollege #roots #genetic #personalitydisorder #TrumpLinePatriarch #psychopath #peacefulresistance #saveourvalues
However, the government soon found out Trump had not only dodged military service but had also failed to register his earlier immigration to the U.S.
His German citizenship was revoked and he was threatened to either leave the country voluntarily or be deported — the very same options his grandson is now providing millions of people.
“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.”
Oh, the irony.
Though written in 1900s, the letter perfectly outlines the anxiety and desperation immigrants are currently experiencing.
Unfortunately for Friedrich Trump, his plea fell on deaf years.
On July 1, 1905, the family left Germany for good and settled back in the NYC, where three months later Frederick Christ Trump, Donald Trump’s father, was born.
Perhaps President Trump should learn a lesson or two from his grandpa’s struggles, because his contentious policies have created an environment of fear for millions of immigrants.
His administration’s recent deportation crackdown not just expanded immigration officials’ power to arrest undocumented citizens, but also directed the Department of Homeland Security to look for immigrants who have either been charged or convicted of a crime or are simply suspects and were never formally charged.
His xenophobia and bigotry could not be more evident in the so-called new executive order that exempts lawful permanent residents and current visa holders. However, instead of banning people from seven Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq — it is now only banning six.
Iraq is no longer blacklisted.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Neil Hall