To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The Germans in Samoa 12


After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and the end of German rule, Rudolf Berking staved off internment for some months teaching New Zealand officials how to run the Customs Department. In the chaos of a new administration “disorder reigned in all government departments,” he wrote later. Working without pay, “I was at the disposal of Colonel Logan and his Customs officers at any time of the day or the night.”

Despite his close cooperation with the occupying forces Berking was shipped out of Apia in May 1916 to become “Prisoner of War No. 63” in the New Zealand internment system. This photo shows him working in the kitchen at the camp on Motuihe Island, Auckland. People identifiable in the photo (left-to-right) appear to be: Wilhelm Osbahr, Berking, Max Bartel, Alfred Schultz, Brenner, Dr Endletsberger (with pipe), Arthur Gardain, others unknown apart from far right, sitting, Wilhelm Holzeit, formerly an accountant at Krause & Preuss, Apia.

Credit: Alfred Schultz Album; photographer R.Hofmann; restored by T.Brunt 2013.

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