A letter publicized this week by the German tabloid Bild reveals how President-elect Donald Trump's grandfather Friedrich Trump begged local authorities in southern Germany to revoke an expulsion order for avoiding military service as a teenager. His plea, it seems, proved unsuccessful, and he had to settle for a life across the Atlantic.
According to a bulletin by the Associated Press, the letter was penned in 1905 and was addressed to Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, a monarch who presided over a realm within the united German Empire. Trump beseeches the “well-loved, noble, wise and just” Bavarian royal not to deport him. Luitpold apparently decided to reject what Trump offered as a “most subservient request.” The document was recently identified by a local historian in a state archive.
Friedrich Trump reached the United States in 1885 when he was 16, after leaving his home town of Kallstadt, in what is now the southwestern German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Although his arrival in New York City was like that of myriad other European immigrants seeking greater opportunity, his departure from Bavaria was illegal — he skipped mandatory military service in the kingdom's armed forces and was formally stripped of Bavarian citizenship four years later.
Trump went on to make his fortune out west, including a stint running taverns and brothels amid the gold rush in Canada's Yukon territory. He “mined the miners,” as one chronicler put it, and his Arctic restaurant became one of the more infamous institutions of the territory.
“For single men the Arctic has the best restaurant,” wrote a moralizing 19th-century journalist in the Yukon Sun. “But I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.”
Trump later returned east and made trips back to his homeland in the early 1900s, including one visit during which he met his eventual wife. Her homesickness compelled Trump to attempt to return to Kallstadt with all of his life savings. But his status as a draft dodger and noncitizen prompted a deportation order.
“The American citizen and pensioner Friedrich Trump, currently residing in Kallstadt, is hereby informed that he is to depart the state of Bavaria, or face deportation,” authorities said in a document dated February 1905, according to Deutsche Welle.
Trump attempted to fight the decree but failed.
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