The depression of the 1930s brought a collapse in prices for the Stunzner crops. Along with most plantation owners, the Stunzners struggled to make ends meet. Kurt and Fritz Jnr married and began their own plantations nearby. Albi headed to Germany for training in engineering. Then a hard emotional blow – last daughter, Trude, emigrated to Germany in 1938 to join her sisters and make her way in life.
The house at Tuvao was now empty except for Fritz and Mary Ellen. By 1939, Fritz was worn out and ill. He was advised to move to a cooler climate for the sake of his health. In June 1939, as the clouds of war gathered, Fritz and Mary Ellen left Samoa for Germany.
This photo shows Mary Ellen bidding farewell to her sister Katherina Hufnagel and brother Augustus Betham.
Credit: Stunzner Family Collection
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