Donald Trump's Ancestral Home Kallstadt Is 'Pig-Stomach Paradise'
by Andy Eckardt
Donald Trump's Ancestral Hometown is Known as Pig Stomach Paradise
KALLSTADT, Germany — Donald Trump has vowed "make to America great again." But 130 years ago, thousands of miles from the "Land of the Free," his ancestors lived in a "paradise" of their own.
A "pig-stomach paradise," that is.
The unusual nickname refers to the culinary specialty of Kallstadt, a sleepy village along Germany's wine route.
Trump's grandfather, Friedrich Trump, left in 1885 and headed for the New World where he eventually became rich during the Klondike gold rush.
Kallstadt, Germany. Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images
The GOP frontrunner has never visited his ancestral home, but Trump did praise his German heritage in a 2014 documentary.
"I think they're strong people and they're smart people," the billionaire tycoon said in "Kings of Kallstadt." "They grow 'em well in Kallstadt, they grow 'em very well, believe me, it's good stock."
Trump's seemingly inexorable rise during the presidential primaries has seen the village inundated with journalists. But residents seem unfazed.
"For the residents here, nothing much has really changed," 55-year old Gabriele Henninger told NBC News, adding that locals "already learn at a very young age about the Trump connection."
Friedrich Trump was just 16 when he left his mother a note saying he was going to America and slipped out in the middle of the night, according to "The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate," by Gwenda Blair.
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His mother "woke up to find Kallstadt's population reduced by 1. It was now 985 souls," Blair wrote.
When he got to the States, Trump amassed his fortune by providing gold miners with food, liquor, and easy access to women, according to the book.
Today, only distant relatives of the Trump family still live in Kallstadt, and the name itself can only be found on a few gravestones at the local cemetery.
A gravestone with the inscription of the Trump family name at Kallstadt cemetery. UWE ANSPACH / EPA
But some residents still carry the name of Kallstadt's other famous family: Heinz.
Henry John Heinz, who founded the eponymous global food brand, was born in Pittsburgh. However, his father, John Henry Heinz, was from Kallstadt and emigrated to the U.S. in 1840.
This cluster of success — two megabrands from a population of just 1,200 — prompted 41-year old local filmmaker Simone Wendel to make "Kings of Kallstadt," a tongue-in-cheek movie that sought to find out if there was something magic about the place.
"It can't be just a coincidence that two such giants have roots in my own little village," she said.
Wendel, whose film features Trump echoing Kennedy by saying: "Ich bin ein Kallstadter," attributed the town's success to its active lifestyle and go-getting spirit.
Main street in Kallstadt, where Trump's ancestors lived. Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images
She found that there were more people registered to local clubs than the town has people — a trend she was helping perpetuate.
"Even though I have not done gymnastics for the last 25 years and now live in Mannheim, I am still a member of the local gymnastics club," she told NBC News. "My father would kill me, if I canceled my membership," she joked.
She also noted that the town has a special ambiance that is dominated by "curiosity, solidarity and openness."
Wendel believes these characteristics were an impetus for the town's famous sons — so now Americans know who to thank if "The Donald" should be chosen for the White House in November.