Rudolf Berking was born in Hanover, Germany, and arrived in Samoa in 1900 via Hawaii. After a stint in junior roles in the Customs Department he was made Collector of Customs in 1905. In this photo from the Cyclopedia of Samoa, 1907, Berking can be seen standing in white at the entrance to the Customs House, on the Apia shoreline. His assistant C. Pullack appears to be on the left and the “tide-waiter”, Captain F.Kruse, on the right.
The Cyclopedia commented on a personal quality of Berking that had made him popular in his Customs role and for which he was known throughout his life: a great courtesy and thoughtfulness of manner.
Credit: “Cyclopedia of Samoa,” McCarron, Stewart & Co, Sydney, 1907.
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