To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The Germans in Samoa 102


Kurt Hufnagel was born in 1847 in Goldberg, near Posen in Silesia. He was one of four children who grew to adulthood in the Hufnagel family. One of his sisters married into the Stunzner family, a connection that would eventually see his nephew (and future brother-in-law), Fritz Stunzner, head to Samoa. Kurt chose to become a seaman. After service in the navy during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 (when the photo at left may have been taken), he went to sea in merchant vessels, eventually signing on with the south seas trading company J.C.Godeffroy & Sohn, of Hamburg.

It was in the service of Godeffroy’s that Hufnagel rose to the rank of Captain. He plied the Pacific from about 1876 picking up cargoes. Smaller vessels fanned out from Apia where Godeffroy’s had its headquarters. Captain Hufnagel became proficient in long-distance voyages as well, according to Karl Hanssen’s 1906 speech. This doubtless meant that Kurt delivered his exotic cargoes of copra, coconut oil and cotton back to Germany.

Credit: Hufnagel-Betham Family Collection, photographer Schmidt & Wegener, Kiel.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Murphy says:

    Trying to find my wife’s German ancestor. Was in Fagamalo, Savaii around late 1800s, but don’t know the name for sure.

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