On January 7, 1943, Nikola Tesla passed away in room 3327 on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker in New York City, his residence for the last ten years (NY Times).
On January 8, 1943, John George Trump (a.k.a. John G., the uncle of Donald Trump, our 45th president) was asked by the Justice Department's Alien Property Custodian Office to review and analyze the reported 80 trunks of files, papers, and contents of at least one reported safe that was seized by the Federal Government. John G., at the time, was an electrical engineer with the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He was called in to analyze the Tesla papers in Office of Alien Property custody.
By all accounts there was a great deal of materials, files, trunks, and a safe or two in Tesla’s room, and yet, after just three short days, John G. Trump gave this statement:
His [Tesla's] thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results. (PBS)
On the contrary, according to a New York Times article on January 22, 1943 Nikola Tesla’s uncle, Sava Kosanovich, a Yugoslav Ambassador to the US, filed papers in Surrogate Court (Rarenewspapers). Mr. Kosanovich stated in his petition:
“A search had disclosed that several years will be required in cataloguing, indexing, and examining papers and data to ascertain the scope, meaning, and significance thereof.”
However, the government reported that there was nothing of relevance left behind by Tesla after just a quick three-day review. One must first question why the Alien Property Custodian Office came in to seize the contents of Tesla’s room in the first place, since Tesla was not an alien but in fact had become a naturalized United States citizen in 1891, according to his naturalization paper filed with the Common Pleas Court of New York County on July 30, 1891:
#T240 Bundle No. 701 Record 35
Name: Tesla, Nikola
Address: *Hotel Gerlach, W. 27th St, N.Y.C.
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Former Nationality: Austrian
Birth Date or Age: (left blank)
Port of Arrival in the United States: (left blank)
Date of Arrival: June 1884
Name, address, and occupation of witness to naturalization:
Richard F. Feist, Rahway, NJ
(Tesla Universe, n.d.)
Even if you believe the last few years of Tesla’s life, dying at the age of 86, was not spent summoning the mind-bending brilliance he once did, it seems unbelievable to me that he would not have something relevant to contribute during his stay there. He lived there from 1933 until 1943. Are we to believe that neither did he keep his research from his earlier years?
It is interesting to note that, according to the government, they were not interested in Tesla’s Death Ray (beam technology). Yet just after WWII, and coincidentally, Tesla’s death, it is reported there was a renewed interest in beam weapons. A PBS report from 2004 found that copies of Tesla’s papers on particle beam weaponry were sent to Patterson air force base in Dayton Ohio to test the feasibility of Tesla’s concepts.
To suggest there was nothing of any great significance in over 80 trunks, files, and safes is highly unlikely. More about that later. First, let’s take a look at the man, John G. Trump, that reviewed, analyzed, and came to these controversial decisions. According to the Director at the Tesla Museum in Belgrade they in fact only received 60 trunks in 1952, not the 80 reportedly found.
Marc Seifer has written a very comprehensive book on Tesla called Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla which is available on Amazon. There is a great synopsis of the book on its product page.