“What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree?”
“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.”
More than 110 years have passed since a hand-written letter was penned by a fearful citizen begging not to be deported from the country he called home. That man was Friedrich Trump, grandfather of President Donald Trump.
In 1905, Friedrich wrote the heartbreaking letter to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria, begging the royal to spare his family the pain of exile.
“I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869,” Friedrich 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.”
In his letter, Friedrich wrote he left his home of Kallstadt in 1885 at the age of 16 to emigrate to America. “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.
However, in 1902 he met his wife, who couldn’t tolerate the harsh climate in New York. So they headed home to Kallstadt. But the family did not receive the warm welcome they expected from their government.
“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.”
Like many U.S. citizens currently facing the same potential fate, Friedrich wrote that he and his family were overcome with anxiety and fright.
“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,” he wrote.
He then ended his letter and simply signed, “Your most humble and obedient, Friedrich Trump.”