Trump Home Town in Germany Not Interested in US President-Elect

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The house of US president-elect Donald Trump’s grandfather in Kallstadt, Germany: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

By Derek Scally
The Irish Times

Donald Trump’s ancestral home in southwestern Germany has no interest in being the next Moneygall. Instead locals in Kallstadt, a Palatinate town of 1,200 people from where Trump’s grandfather Friedrich left in 1885, say they have as little interest in Trump as he apparently has in them.

On Wednesday at 8 a.m., the Appel butcher had just opened for business, selling cold meats, sausages and saumagen, its pork belly speciality favoured by former chancellor Helmut Kohl. One staff member – who asked not to be named – said there was no jubilation in the town at the news of Donald Trump’s election.

“I never would have believed it was possible and amongst ourselves we never really talked about him because we are not interested,” she told The Irish Times. “I’m not that happy, to be honest, because he is not my kind of guy.”

And so it is up and down the tiny town that Trump has never visited. Many are still annoyed at how he ignored a donation appeal for funds to restore the church organ. A second letter to the Heinz family, the ketchup heirs who also have roots in Kallstadt, secured a donation.

At the Trump ancestral home in the Freinsheimer Strasse, the current owners are at their wits’ end because of the media. They have pinned a sign to the door reading: “We’re offering this object of historical interest to the Kallstadt municipality for a fair price. So we can live in our house without press and media hype!”

That is unlikely to happen any time soon. A dazed honorary mayor, Thomas Jaworek, says: “What we never thought could come true is now reality.”

The only person who appears remotely interested in meeting the 45th president of the United States is Bernd Weisenborn, a local wine producer whose father is a distant cousin.

“He’s elected and that’s all there is to it,” said Weisenborn in a tired voice.

Homesick

Some 15 years after leaving as a poor hairdresser in 1885, Friedrich Trump returned to Kallstadt as a wealthy hotelier. In 1902 he married Elizabeth, a neighbour’s daughter, but, in 1905, they fled again to the U.S. to escape his conscription. In a letter from 1906, discovered by a German genealogist last week, Friedrich Trump begged the authorities for permission to return, writing that his wife was homesick.

But the authorities viewed him as a draft dodger, said he was not welcome and stripped him of his citizenship.

Friedrich, now Frederick, Trump died in the U.S. in 1907. He left behind a fortune, a daughter and two sons, one of whom was Fred, father of Donald, who would later avoid serving in Vietnam.

Back in Kallstadt, the locals have clearly no intention of changing their minds on president-elect Trump. In the Sippel bakery, saleswoman Gabriele Riede attacks the outspoken views of Kallstadt’s long lost son.

“And, besides that,” she said, “he really should go to the hairdresser.”


Originally published in The Irish Times.

© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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