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In a bitter burst of generational irony, Harper’s magazine has unearthed a letter written by Donald Trump’s grandfather, begging the ruler of Bavaria not to deport him and his family. In the 1905 letter, Friedrich Trump begs for clemency from the German nation’s Prince Luitpold, writing that it’s “very, very hard for a family” to be forcibly denied access to its home:

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?


Trump’s family attempted to return to Bavaria after spending several years living in America, but were removed after the government found Friedrich had avoided the country’s compulsory military service. Like so many people across the years, he begs his country’s leader not to destroy his and his family’s life out of deference to unfair laws, implemented with a rigid interpretation bordering on cruel.

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.

Oh, and just in case you were worrying that the letter wasn’t written by a real Trump: Friedrich also includes this line, describing his time in America: “God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich.”

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