Frida Peemüller’s Memoirs of German Samoa 1910-1920

James Bade

Frida Peemüller’s Samoan memoirs will appear in 2022 as an annotated critical edition published by Peter Lang Edition, Berlin. The memoirs were found by Tony Brunt in the course of his research on early Samoan photographs, and representatives of the German and Samoan descendants of Frida Peemüller and her husband Barnim Peemüller authorised their publication. Work on the edition started in 2018, with Prof. Bade supervising three senior students from the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury who helped to translate and annotate sections of the text. The remaining sections were translated and annotated by Prof. Bade, who also transcribed the original German manuscript and wrote the Introduction. Frida Peemüller’s memoirs of her time in German Samoa from 1910 to 1920 give us a unique insight into what was happening in Samoa under the last years of the German administration, under New Zealand occupation during World War I, and in Germany itself at the outbreak of war, as she had returned to Germany in 1914 and was permitted to re-enter Samoa. The years she and Barnim Peemüller spent together on his Ululoloa plantation near Apia were to be the best years of their lives.