At the start of 1919, several months after the end of the First World War, the Stunzners were barred from returning to Samoa, where all their property had been confiscated, and were deported to Germany. This was unaccountably harsh and departed from the policy of the NZ Administration in Samoa which allowed most Germans who had married locals to remain in the islands with all their assets intact. The Stunzners left New Zealand penniless except for a horde of gold dollars that Fritz Stunzner had hidden in Mary Ellen’s sewing box below a false bottom (these coins would fulfil a crucial purpose some years later).
In Germany, the Stunzners were reunited with their daughters, Hedwig ‘Hetty’ and Ilse. The family settled in Zerbst and then moved to Dortmund where Fritz was able to find work.
This photo shows them in about 1924. People (left-to-right): at back Hetty and her husband Clemens Koster; Fritz Jnr; Mathilde; Herman Bietzker, Ilse’s husband (photographic blemish on face); Ilse; Kurt; at front Albi; Mary Ellen; Fritz; Gertrude.
Credit: Stunzner Family Collection
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