To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums



In 1939, Christel Garben wrote a reminiscence of her years in Samoa. It appeared in the “Rheinische Landeszeitung.” She wrote: “Ein Märchen, wenn man jetzt an den Zauber der Südsee denkt – mit seinen rauschenden Palmen, den Mondscheinnächten, da man auf schnellen Pferden oder im Wagen durch die Eingeborenendörfer ritt oder fuhr, begleitet vom melodischen Gesang der Samoaner. Dazu die Brandung am Korallenriff und die düftereiche Luft! Höher nach den Bergen zu die geheimnisvollen Geräusche des Urwaldes, das lebt und weht und taucht in der Erinnerung auf wie ein verlorenes Paradies.”

Translation (per Mathias Freund): “It is like a fairy tale now remembering the magic of the South Sea – with its whispering palm trees, the nights glazed with moonlight, riding on swift horses or wheeling in a horse buggy through the villages of the natives, accompanied by the melodic songs of the Samoans. The swoosh of the surge at the coral reef, and the air filled with fragrance. Higher to the mountains and the mysterious sounds of the jungle. This all lives and comes like a wave to my mind like a lost paradise.”

Credit: “Evening on Apia Harbour, fishing for atule (herring)”, McKay Family Collection, photographer probably A.J.Tattersall.

For those who would like more information on the German plantations of colonial Samoa, a video presentation can be viewed at this link which shows Tony Brunt giving an illustrated talk on the subject at Auckland Museum in 2015:

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