To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


TGIS 3-30

This group of Germans arrived at Motuihe Island from Samoa just before war’s end in 1918. Reinhold Hofmann grabbed them shortly after arrival and got them to pose on the wharf road. Unfortunately, we know only a few of their identities but viewers may recognise a relative or forbear. If you do, please comment below. Some identities appear to be as follows: man sitting on fence at left, Hans Korner (?) ex-DH & PG; man 5th from left in dark jersey Wilhelm ‘Mumu’ Arp; man in middle (in front) in dark jacket and hat Karl F.W.Nickel; man 4th from right at back Kurt Meyer; man second from right Wilhelm Nusshaer (also Nuzshaer); man at far right, Dr Max Bartel. Other men believed to be in this group include Johannes Wesche, J. Graf, J.Kroger, R. Maiern. Docke, Suhren, Wulf, Maas, Olms, Winkelmann.

Credit: Alfred Schultz Album, photographer Reinhold Hofmann.

Categorised as: Uncategorized


  1. aufata Leauanae says:

    This is a gem. Karl W. Nickel pictured among this group of Germans was my grandfather on my father’s side. Never seen a picture of him at this part of his life, but great to see it preserved.

    Thank you!

    • Karl Nickel says:

      My apologies in advance if I’m incorrect but very much interested on getting more information about this group of German’s as I think he’s my grandfather as well. Would greatly appreciated.

      • Tony Brunt says:

        My information is that Mr Nickel was born in Kiel, Germany, in 1881 and came to Samoa in 1908. He was a trader in Salelavalu, Savaii, in 1914, not sure about afterwards. He was married to Siolo and later Luisa. His children appear to include Anna, Rudolph and Olga. There were others. Mr Nickel lived in Apia into the 1960s, surpassing the age of 80.

        • Karl Nickel says:

          Hi Tony, if you don’t mind my asking, where did you get your information from? By any chance are you related to the Nickel family? Met some cousins from NZ for the first time and confirmed that we are the grand kids and would like to know more family members.

          • Tony Brunt says:

            Karl, That information comes from some official documentation as well as information supplied by a Tiedemann descendant of Mr Nickel. Anna Nickel married Walter Tiedemann in 1936.

        • Joseph Fruean says:

          Appreciate the info Mr Brunt. according to the info you are right my grandmother is siolo taitu’uga from falealili and my mother is olga. I am open to share information.

    • Joseph Fruean says:

      Dear sister Aufata my name is joseph my biological father is Rudy Nickel.longing to hear from you .

  2. Katesa Wesche says:

    We have a copy of this same photo among some other photos of their time in the Motuihi Camp.
    Johannes Wesche is at the back of Karl Nickel wearing a grey suit and dark tie with a broad matching hat 🙂 and fourth from the back left.
    Some of these men kept in touch over the years. Johannes was not allowed to return to Samoa so he lived and died in Helensville, Auckland in 1950.
    Have photos of some of them some years after when they were older.

    • Joseph Fruean says:

      Appreciate if you don’t mind sharing some info and pictures. I am very interested in Mr Karl F.W.Nickel He’s my grandfather.

  3. Karl Nickel says:

    Thank you Tony,

  4. Joseph Fruean says:

    Appreciate the picture Mr Karl Nickel is my grandfather my mother is Olga Nickel Fruean. his daughter, I am open for more infomation

  5. Josh says:

    Wow so much interest over Karl Nickel! He’s my great grandfather, my Nana is Elsie Nickel. My dad has done the whole family tree and is writing a book on it. If anyone is interested, give me an email at .

  6. Katesa Wesche says:

    Karl Frederick Wilhelm Nickel is from Keil, Schleswig Holstein. There is a personal file of him during the war years. Contact Aufata she has these copies since the early 1990s.

  7. Geoff Si'ave says:

    Fantastic archive collection, Tony. Karl’s descendants are having a family reunion in late October 2015 in Wellington, NZ.

  8. James Fruean says:


  9. Kris Couch says:

    Hi there, came across this page in researching the family of Christopher Tiedemann who came from Samoa. I understand from research that he had a brother Walter. I wonder if that is the same Walter Tiedemann that is mentioned in here. Christopher Tiedemann’s daughter Helene came to NZ as a 16 year old and remained here. My partner is her son. ALso Christopher Tiedemann became a POW with NZ during the second world war. I am trying to locate his death information so that I can get to the archived records.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Kris, As per my post I have done extensive research on my grandfather karl Nickel. Walter Tiedemann is my uncle. NZ Archives have the POW record for Christopher Tiedemann. The record is:
      Interned Enemies – Alien Individual Case Files – Tiedemann, Christoph (R2854219)
      This would be a very good place to start your search.


      I am researching for my mother in law. Christopher Tiedemann is her great grandfather. If anyone can provide to me more info on the family, it is so appreciated.

  10. I have done extensive research on Karl Nickel and will release a book at the Nickel reunion in Levin, Labour Weekend 2015. My book is more than 100 pages and includes all of Karls POW record, his baptism and birth certs, his family going back five generations into the early 1700s. I also have documented his youth and how he got to Samoa in 1908. prior to that he was in the 85th Holstein-Schleswig Infantry Regiment and deployed to the Herero Wars in South West Africa (Namibia).

  11. Please need know about my grandfather William Meyer or jist Meyer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *