Name ID 2351
Extract Author: Dr. Dirk Englisch
Page Number: 2008 03 27
Dear East Africa enthusiast,
being at present posted in the German Embassy in Nairobi I happened to run across this interesting website about NTZ.
In a novel about a German officer taking part in the German-East Africa (GEA) campaign (Otto Inhülsen: Wir ritten für Deutsch-Ostafrika -We rode for German-East Africa - 1926) I found the person of Adolph Siedentopf thoroughly described and would like to share these information with the interested reader:
Inhülsen was on a raid to British East Africa, to confuse the British about the real low strength of the German troops in Northern GEA, which brought him from Arusha through the crater highlands almost south of Nairobi , passing what now is Norok province north of the Masai Mara Game Reserve):
> Adolph Siedentopf:
September 1915: 44 years old
Born in Hanover - Western Germany
Apprenticeship as a pharmacist.
Arrived in the middle/end of the 1880s in Dar es Salaam to work in the local German pharmacy.
Being adventurous travelled soon up country to nowadays Mwanza to trade with ivory and cattle. Begin of a close relationship with the Masai tribe whose language he learnt.
Since 1905 farmer in Ngoro-Ngoro ( received 6000 hectare of land by the German administration, although he claimed 24,000 ha, i.e. the whole crater area).
1 “young wife”, no children so far (9/1915).
Later constant quarrel with the administration because of the meanwhile established Masai reservation in the area, not allowing settling and farming anymore.
Had 6 former ascaris from the Belgium Congo province as bodyguards and lived peacefully together with 20 Masai families, who had lost there livestock during the rinderpest (1915: 1000 cattle). Boor farmers helped him to build his farmhouse in “boorish style”.
Interestingly Inhülsen mentions in his book that during his visit in 1915 Siedentopf´s brother lived in the crater, too. Inhülsen entered the crater from the South East side (possibly on the present SE descent). After 2-3 Km (!) at the Lemunge River the farmhouse was situated. I.e. not in the NE of the crater, where you can visit the remnants of a German farm today: is it possible that these are the ruins of his brother’s farm? Are there still ruins in the SE area of the crater?
Inhülsen describes Mr. Siedentopf as a very impressive, tall, energetic and tough person, which nevertheless was very sympathetic and humorous. He entertained the visiting officers over hours with funny campfire stories - “Once you learnt to know him you would never forget him”. Inhülsen met him again in Summer 1916 in the POW camp in Nairobi, where Siedentopf meanwhile had developed into the sports champion of the camp.
There the description ends.
Having emigrated into the US in post war Germany with already inflation in 1919 (having lost possible family property in Germany), famine, political turmoil, unemployment and economic depression – considering my family’s history - appears plausible to me. This goes even more for somebody used to the free and different live in Eastern Africa…
Suicide in 1932 around 72 years old , if really committed, could than have been caused by chronic disease or the 2nd economical break down in Adolph Siedentopf´s live, during the great depression after the wall street crash in 1929.
If these additional information will help to bring more light in the life of Adolph Siedentopf, please let me / us know.