To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


TGIS 2-80

In early June 1944, McKay was instrumental in helping five internees gain release back to Samoa on compassionate and age-related grounds. In August and September he worked with the Aliens Appeal Tribunal in considering the other 29 cases still unresolved.

The Tribunal noted in its report that McKay was “extremely helpful because of his personal knowledge of the individual men and their families, and of Samoan conditions generally.” The report of 20 September made other references to his advice:  His “judgements of all the men seemed to us kindly and understanding….In six of these 10 cases, Mr McKay was inclined to take a more lenient view [than that of the Administrator in Samoa]. He appeared to favour the immediate return of those whose names we have marked with a cross….As to all the remaining Samoans, numbering 15, the position is that Mr McKay….is in all cases, favourable to their immediate return.”

This appears to be the only photo taken on Somes Island of the German Samoans as a group. It appears to date from late 1942. There are a couple of men missing from the picture.

Credit: Schaumkell Family Collection.

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