Introduction by Nathan Priddis
Ein Jahrzehnt in Samoa
In 1900 the islands that make up Western Samoa became a German colony. Prior to that time there had been a struggle between England, Germany and the United States for control of the islands. The United States took control of the islands Tutuila and Manu'a, now known as American Samoa, and Germany obtained the islands of Opulo, and Savai. England did not receive a share of land. Instead they received sole possession of Tonga and the Solomon islands.
Six years after the German flag was raised over the Samoan islands, Frieda Zieschank traveled to Samoa with her husband, a German physician. Her husband provided medical care for German colonists and Samoan natives. During WWI Germany lost control of their Samoan colony when troops from New Zealand invaded. Frieda and her husband stayed in Samoa two years beyond the beginning of the occupation. They left in 1916 having lived a total of 10 years in Samoa. Most of the Germans still living on the island then were forced to leave.
In Ein Jahrzehnt in Samoa, Frieda Zieschank describes her experience in this tropical “Paradies” which she grew to love as much as she loved Germany. She tells of many of her encounters with the native Samoans, the living conditions, and general conditions of the German colony, and of the difficulties which she endured under the occupation during World War I. These memoirs deal quite extensively with the topics of race, interracial marriage, the climate of Samoa, and German nationalism. Other topics which Zieschank touched on are the occupation of Samoa by the soldiers from New Zealand, the economy on Samoa, and the many plantations which could be found in Samoa. She also dwells briefly on the topic of religion and the effect different missions and denominations had on the German colony.