It was no surprise that one of the five men who organised the Mulinu’u ceremony was Mr Rudolf Berking. You won’t find much mention of him in the history books of Samoa but he was arguably the most prominent German Samoan of the 20th century. He never held high office and his life was marked by dislocation and adversity, but Rudolf Berking was a generous and public spirited man who commanded broad community respect.
He outlived all his German contemporaries, dying in Apia in 1972 at the age of 92. Berking had served in the German government of Samoa and then lived on to see the arrival of the nation’s self-government in 1962. Independence for the Samoans must have seemed impossibly distant in the horse-and-buggy days at the turn of the century when Berking stepped off his ship.
Credit: Klaus Berking Collection.
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