To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The Germans in Samoa 21

Rudolf Berking was a member of the German “Concordia Club,” in Apia, which served as a cultural and social centre for German men on Upolu. They followed closely the rise of Hitler in Germany and had spirited discussions about the German leader and his National Socialist Party. After the declaration of war in September 1939, virtually all of its members were arrested by the NZ Administration.

A total of 42 men were interned under guard at the Taumeasina Centre, east of Apia. After three months captivity there, 15 men, including Berking, were sent to New Zealand for internment and the rest were released on parole. This photo shows Mr Berking standing on a hill above the Somes Island internment camp, in Wellington, where he would spend 4¾ years. Apart from the initial 15 men, a total of 20 other German Samoans were brought to Somes Island during the course of the war.

Credit: Riethmaier Family Collection; restored by T. Brunt 2013.

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