The concept of loyalty still holds a central space in many histories about New Guinean-Australian relations, especially during the Second World War, and translates into demands by Australians that New Guineans recognize Australia's political system as "the best". In this article about the visit of the first German navy cruiser to New Guinea after the First World War, I tell a story not about loyalties, but about contesting colonial claims, namely Australia's insistence on "loyalty", and Germany's demand for a "return" of her colony. The visit of Köln in 1933 raises questions such as: How did Germans and Australians negotiate living together in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea? How were divisions, grief, tensions, and hostilities after the First World War dealt with? What separated them, what united them, and what role did New Guineans play in this complex relationship?.