A video currently making the rounds on social media shows the moment a baby got a hang of what if feels like to adults when babies cry uncontrollably after she watched a video of herself crying. The Baby girl was shown a video of herself […]
On October 7, 1885, Friedrich Trump, a 16-year-old German barber, bought a one-way ticket for America, escaping three years of compulsory German military service. He had been a sickly child, unsuited to hard labor, and feared the effects of the draft. It might have been illegal, but America didn’t care about this law-breaking—at that time, Germans were seen as highly desirable migrants—and Trump was welcomed with open arms. Less than two weeks later, he arrived in New York, where he would eventually make a small fortune. More than a century later, his grandson, Donald Trump, became the 45th president of Friedrich’s adopted home.
But for decades, Trump denied this German heritage altogether, instead claiming that his grandfather’s roots lay further north, in Scandinavia. “[He] came here from Sweden as a child,” Trump asserted in his co-written book The Art of the Deal. In fact, his cousin and family historian John Walter told The New York Times, Trump maintained the ruse at the request of his own realtor father, Fred Trump, who had obfuscated his German ancestry to avoid upsetting Jewish friends and clients. “After the war,” Walter told the Times, “he’s still Swedish. [The lie] was just going, going, going.”
Trump is the son, and grandson, of immigrants: German on his father’s side, and Scottish on his mother’s. None of his grandparents, and only one of his parents, was born in the United States or spoke English as their mother tongue. (His mother’s parents, from the remote Scottish Outer Hebrides, lived in a majority Gaelic-speaking community.)
Friedrich Trump came to the United States amid a flood of Germans—that year alone, an estimated 1 million made the journey to settle in America. It was, the Times reported, “the start of an adventurous life as a barber, restaurateur, saloonkeeper, hotelier, entrepreneur, gold rush prospector, shipwreck survivor and New York real-estate investor.”