A German historian, Roland Paul, has uncovered a local council letter from 1905 informing Donald Trump’s grandfather Friedrich Trump – who had become a United States citizen – that he would not be granted his German citizenship back and that he had eight weeks to leave the country or be deported. He also claimed that Trump had illegally left Germany, failing to notify authorities of his plan to immigrate.

Paul came across the document on Friedrich Trump’s threatened deportation in German state archives and also found several letters from him pleading with authorities to allow him to stay. Paul mused on how this one administrative decision seemed to have changed the course of history.

Donald Trump’s father was born in the US, where he met Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, who hailed from Scotland.

In 1885, at age 16,Friedrich Trump emigrated to the United States aboard a steamship and arrived at the Emigrant Landing Depot in New York City on October 19. U.S. immigration records list his name as “Friedrich Trumpf”, last place of residence as “Kallstadt”, country of birth as “Germany”, and his occupation as “farmer”. He moved in with his older sister Katharina – who had emigrated in 1883 – and her husband Fred Schuster. Only a few hours after arriving, he met a German-speaking barber who was looking for an employee and began working the following day. Trump lived with his relatives in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a neighborhood with many other immigrants.

In May 1904, when he applied in New York for a U.S. passport to travel with his wife and his daughter, he listed his profession as “hotelkeeper”. In Germany, Trump deposited into a bank his life’s savings of 80,000 marks, equivalent to $505,248 in 2016.

Soon after returning, Bavarian authorities determined that Trump had emigrated from Germany to avoid his military-service obligations, and he was labeled a draft dodger. On December 24, 1904 the Department of Interior announced an investigation to expel Trump from the country. Officially, they found that he had violated the Resolution of the Royal Ministry of the Interior number 9916, a 1886 law that punished emigration to North America to avoid military service with the loss of German citizenship. For several months, he unsuccessfully petitioned the government to allow him to stay.
 
He and his family finally returned to New York on June 30, 1905 where Donald Trump’s father, Fred, was born on October 11, 1905, in Queens, New York.