Ca. 1910-1911. 94 loose gelatin silver photos, of various size, from ca. 10,5x15 cm (4 x 5 ¾ in) to ca. 7,5x7 cm (3 x 2 ¾ in). Over a dozen printed as real photo postcards. Eight photos numbered in negative, over forty photos with period pencil or ink manuscript captions in German cursive on verso, several captions partly cut or trimmed. Some photos detached from the original mounts with their remnants visible on verso, one photo with a loss of a left lower corner, a couple of images mildly faded, but overall a very good collection.
Rare important extensive collection of original photos documenting the events of the Sokehs Rebellion on Ponape/Pohnpei, the main island of the Carolines group, in October 1910-February 1911. A part of German New Guinea in 1899-1914, Pohnpei and its small satellite island of Sokehs (now a peninsula) became the location of one of the most known rebellions of native islanders against colonial rule. The resentment towards the German-introduced land and tax reforms and the corporal punishment of a Sokehs man who refused to perform a forced-labour road construction led to the Sokehs tribe killing several German officials and besieging Pohnpei’s administrative center in Kolonia. Only six weeks after the beginning of hostilities, Pohnpei saw the arrival of four German naval ships – cruisers SMS “Cormoran,” SMS “Emden,” and SMS “Nürnberg,” and a survey ship “Planet.” The German marines defeated the rebels after several weeks, capturing their fortification on the top of Sokehs Mountain, and exhausting the remaining groups. On February 24, 1911, fifteen leaders of the rebellion, including Chief Samuel, Soumadau and Leperirin were executed by a firing squad of Melanesian policemen. The entire Sokehs tribe was exiled to Yap and Palau and was only allowed to return after the end of the German rule in Pohnpei. After the Caroline islands had become a part of the independent Federated State of Micronesia, chief Samuel was proclaimed a national hero, and the date of the rebels’ execution became a national holiday.
Our well-annotated photo collection was most likely compiled by a German officer who took part in the suppression of the rebellion. Four photos, same as from our collection, can be seen at a virtual exhibition “Aufruhr auf Ponape” of the German Federal Archives, with the notes that these photos accompanied the official report of the commander of SMS “Nürnberg” from February 5, 1911 (https://www.bundesarchiv.de/DE/Content/Virtuelle-Ausstellungen/Aufruhr-auf-Ponape/Aufruhr_auf_Ponape_Text.html).
1. “Sokehs Island and the mission station;”
2. “1st Detachment of SMS Emden” (group portrait of German sailors and Melanesian policemen);
3. “German soldiers in front of conquered shelters of the Sokehs”;
4. “Captured insurgents” held behind a tall barbed-wire fence.
Five photos, same as from our collection, illustrated the contemporary article about the rebellion (Gartzke. Der Aufstand in Ponape (Ostkaroninen) und seine Niederwerfung durch S.M. Schiffe “Emden,” “Nürnberg,” “Cormoran,” Planet// Marine-Rundschau. Jg. 22, 1911, T. 1, S. 703-738; http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/kolonialbibliothek/content/pageview/7744444?query=abb.) The photos show the coastal profile of the Sokehs island, Germans in front of the conquered Sokehs’ shelters, Germans and Melanesians from the “Emden” detachment, and German marines climbing the Sokehs ridge.
Six photos, same as from our collection, illustrated the first account of the rebellion published in book form and written by a lieutenant from SMS “Cormoran” (Spiegel, Edgar von und zu Peskelsheim. Kriegsbilder aus Ponape Erlebnisse eines Seeoffiziers im Aufstande auf den Karolinen. Stuttgart, 1912, http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/dsdk/content/pageview/9122338?query=photo). The photos show: “Die Höhenrücken der Insel Dschokadsch” (p. 13); “Das Feltennest des aufrührerischen Eingeborenen mit der am Fusse liegenden Missionstation” (p. 18); “Der Felskegel mit den Schlupfwinkeln der Aufrührer” (p. 25); “Feltenhöhlen auf der Dschokadschinsel. Aus der “Marine-Rundschau” (p. 147); «Die Spitze der Abfperrkolonne. Au dieser Stelle fiel Lt. Erhard. Aus der “Marine-Rundschau” (p. 189); “Gefangenene Ponapen-Häuptlinge. 1. Lepereren. 2. Somatau” (p. 219). A photo from Spiegel’s account, similar to the one from our collection, shows the graves of fallen German marines (“Die Gräber der Gefallenen. Leutnant zur See D. Erhard. Obermatrose Kneidl. Obermatrose Günther,” p. 233).
Very interesting are six group portraits of the captured Sokehs rebels, who were photographed shortly before their execution. The prisoners, including the rebellion leaders Samuel, Soumadau and Leperirin, are shown with tied-up hands; the photos also feature sailors from SMS “Emden” and Melanesian policemen. The collection also houses another group portrait of sailors and officers from SMS “Emden”, several views of the Sokehs fortification on the mountain ridge after its capture and deforestation, photos of Sokehs’ captured shelters in the forest; smaller photos of SMS “Nürnberg” and “Cormoran” in the Ponape harbour, German marines embarking in Ponape and parading on a street, portraits of German military men, walls of the old Spanish fort in Kolonia, several views of a cemetery on Ponape, the monument to Johann Stanislaus Kubary (1846-1896, a Polish naturalist and ethnographer, died in Ponape). There are also several informal portraits of German colonial residents, views of an interior of a German house, portraits of native women and girls, families, servants, a scene of native dance, coastal views, photos of rivers, waterfalls, mountains, etc. Overall an extensive historically important photo collection documenting the Sokehs Rebellion in German Ponape.
Price: $5,250.00 USD