Who Were Donald Trump’s Grandparents? | History


hometown of New York City. In fact, his family has a
long history in the Big Apple, starting with his grandparents. Friedrich and Elizabeth Trump
were both born in Kallstadt, Germany, and actually
grew up across the street from one another. In the 1880s, Friedrich
ventured to North America, making a small fortune
during Alaska’s gold rush, operating restaurants
and brothels. After Friedrich
returned to Germany and married Elizabeth in
1902, the young couple left for a place where all
immigrants could find a home– New York City. The city part of that
was relatively new. The five boroughs
had only formally incorporated four years prior. The Trumps first settled
in with Friedrich’s sister in Morrisania, a rapidly
growing German neighborhood in the Bronx. Today, a nail salon
occupies their old address. But even though they lived
amongst their countrymen, Elizabeth quickly
became homesick. After giving birth
to their first child, also named Elizabeth, in
1904, the growing family traveled back to Deutschland. But the German government
wouldn’t allow Friedrich to regain his citizenship,
claiming he had only left for America in the first place
to avoid the German empire’s mandatory military service. So back to New York it was. They found their next
home again in the Bronx, an apartment building
that still stands today, now home to a liquor store. Elizabeth soon gave birth
to their second child and first son Frederick
Christ, although he was known as Fred from an early age. A third child, John George,
would be born two years later. To provide for his young family,
Friedrich set up a barber shop in lower Manhattan,
shaving and trimming men of finance at 60 Wall Street– now the headquarters
of Deutsche Bank. But Friedrich wouldn’t
be satisfied with cutting rich men’s hair for long. He wanted to be the
one in the chair. So in September, 1908, he
bought his first property as an investment–
a two-story dwelling in the Woodhaven
neighborhood of Queens. To supplement his income,
he took up a job as manager at the German-owned Medallion
Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The hotel has since
been demolished, and the property now
exists as a parking lot. Soon after, the
whole Trump family moved to Queens to be closer
to Friedrich’s real estate interests, settling in a
two-story house in Woodhaven, still a house today. All was good for the Trumps. But like many German
immigrants in the US, they faced extreme bias after
the outbreak of World War I. To appear more
American, Friedrich dropped became Frederick Trump. Interestingly, his son
Fred Trump would go on to further reject his German
ancestry, claiming the family was Swedish in order to
appeal to Jewish renters, a claim considered by his
son well into the future. Back in 1918,
America experienced one of its most dangerous
epidemics– the Spanish flu. Influenza killed over 21 million
people worldwide that year, including Frederick Trump. Elizabeth went on to manage
her deceased husband’s budding real estate company,
now inside old Elizabeth Trump and Son, the son being Fred. Until he was of age, Elizabeth
bought and sold property, built homes, and arranged
mortgages, all while selling for her neighbors on the side. Fred soon took
over the business, and, over the course
of several decades, built it into the family empire
his son Donald would inherit.

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