Melania Trump’s mother once worked in a textile factory in Communist Slovenia.
Now, Amalija Knavs (Knauss) has watched her daughter, Melania, become the First Lady of the United States.
Amalija Knavs and Melania’s father, Viktor Knavs, have flown somewhat beneath the public radar, although they are sometimes seen at their daughter’s side.
Amalija is reportedly close to her daughter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Amalija Once Worked in a Textile Factory Making Patterns & Now Lives in New York
A lengthy GQ profile on Melania Trump says both of her parents have moved to New York and live near Trump Tower. According to Univision, Melania’s son with Donald Trump, Barron, speaks Slovenian so he can communicate with his grandparents.
The couple was pictured behind the president and Melania at the inauguration.
During Melania’s childhood, Melania’s mother, Amalija Ulčnik, “worked developing patterns at a factory that manufactured children’s clothing. She had met Viktor Knavs in 1966 while he was the chauffeur for a nearby town’s mayor,” according to GQ. The New Yorker reports: “Amalija was an employee of the state-owned Jutranjka textile factory, where she worked as a pattern maker from 1964 until her retirement, in 1997.”
The New York Times reported that Amalija started out “harvesting red onions” on a family farm before working “in the town’s textile factory.” According to The New Yorker, Amalija’s father accidentally created “the famed Raka red onion.”
Amalija’s nickname was “Malci,” the Times reported.
2. Amalija’s Husband, Viktor, Belonged to the Communist Party & Was a Car Salesman
When Melania was born (Melanija Knavs) in Slovenia, the country was part of Communist Yugoslavia, according to CBS News. The couple raised their daughter in “a Communist apartment block in Sevnica,” a riverside town, according to The New Yorker.
The New York Times reported that Slovenia, located in then-northern Yugoslavia, was ruled by a Communist dictator, and Viktor joined the Party, although a Trump spokesperson denied he was an active member of it. The town has only about 4,500 people, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Viktor Knavs was a traveling car salesman, often leaving his wife alone with the girls, so Melania forged a closer relationship with her mother, according to The Times.
“Her father, Viktor Knavs, was a member of the Communist Party and a car salesman,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
Univision reports: “Melania’s parents lived in a two-room apartment in Sevnica, a town of about 5,000 residents. They acquired the house through the housing plan of the now liquidated Jutranca textile company where they worked. After Melania was born they moved to a nearby building with an extra room.”
3. Amalija Sewed Her Daughters’ Clothes & Dressed Them ‘to Impress’
In June, Melania and her mother were photographed together in Manhattan. Although makeup-free Melania was described as uncharacteristically dressing down, her mother was carrying a Gucci purse.
Back in Slovenia, reports GQ, Amalija was known as pretty and “always very fancy.”
“Amalija spent evenings after work sewing clothing for herself and her two daughters,” and the family vacationed throughout Europe and painted their home in deep, “lush” colors, GQ reported. Amalija also had a fondness of “western fashion magazines,” the magazine reports.
The Times reported that Amalija would sew her daughters clothes and made sure they were always “dressed to impress.”
Melania has said her father “aged gracefully,” according to The Daily Caller.
4. Amalija & Viktor Knavs Had Two Daughters
Amalija and Viktor have two daughters. At 46, Melania is the youngest.
Her older sister, Ines Knauss, 48, also lives in New York City and has been able to maintain a low profile. According to the New York Post, the sisters are best friends and the First lady considers Ines to be a confidante.
When Melania was in her teens, the family moved to the country’s capital, Ljubljana, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Read more about Ines Knauss here:
5. Viktor Knavs Had a Son With Another Woman
Melania’s father had a son with another woman. When reporters produced records of this fact, Melania Trump said in a statement that her family had known about it for a long time.
The Daily Caller reported that “Viktor Knavs had a child with a woman he dated before he met Melania’s mother. Though he argued that the child wasn’t his, a court-ordered blood test proved he was. Melania and her half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, have never met.”
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