To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The Germans in Samoa 40

Records in the Bremen Registry of Sailors, in Germany, give Feodor Axmann’s date of birth as 1841 in the town of Gohren. They have him shipping out of Bremen in 1855 at age 14 on board the sailing ship George William, bound for New York. Australian records indicate that he turned up in Sydney on board the Godeffroy two-masted sailing ship, Helene, in 1864. Soon after, Mr Axmann arrived in Samoa and his seafaring days came to an end.

This photo (original on left and digitally modified version on right) shows him with Etesa Malietoa (born in Vaiusu), their daughter, Emma, and son, Hermann Ernest Feodor. It was taken around 1876, as Emma was born in 1868 and looks to be around eight years old. This photo came to New Zealand with Spemann descendants in 1953 and the people pictured were unrecognised until digital manipulation took place in 2013 and a comparison was made with the man in the next image which also came with the Spemanns.

Credit: Composite from Spemann Family collection.

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  1. Robert Rudolf Gebauer says:

    I would very much like to connect with others who have connection to Emma Axmann. She married a Mr. Richard Gebauer who was my great grand father.

  2. Jasmin says:


    my great grandfather is Robert, Emma’s and Richard’s son.

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