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Albert Schweitzer

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"You've learned what it truly means to suffer and have that suffering eased. As one who has suffered, you must consider it your sacred duty in this life to ease the suffering of others, if you can and never to cause it."
Albert Schweitzer to Pahouin Chief's Son[src]

Albert Schweitzer was a German doctor, theologian and concert organist who found his mission to minister to the health needs of the native inhabitants of Equatorial Africa. Giving up his career in theology and music, he and his wife, Helene Schweitzer, moved to Lambaréné, in French Equatorial Africa (modern-day Gabon) and started a hospital. While he was there, he developed a philosophy which he called "Reverence for Life".

Biography Edit

In late December 1916 or early January 1917, Indiana Jones, as a member of an expedition across Africa to pick up badly needed arms, caught a glimpse of the doctor as their boat, the Collette passed by the hospital on the riverbanks. With many of his men injured or sick, Jones tries to stop at the hospital, but both his superior, Major Boucher, and his sergeant, Barthélèmy, disagreed.

Later in January, on the return trip from Port-Gentil with Jones in charge, the expedition was disastrously sick. Doctor Schweitzer's assistant, Joseph boarded the ship and brought it to the dock, after subduing Jones, who planned to detonate the boat to prevent it from falling into German hands. However, Schweitzer's intentions were peaceful, and he saw to the recovery of Jones, Remy Baudouin, Zachariah Sloat, Zimu and the other surviving soldiers. When Jones first came out of his fever, he resisted medical care to protect his arms shipment and chose to camp out on his boat, and Schweitzer was upset. By the next day, Jones had realized that Schweitzer and his wife were no threat - they lived to tend to the medical needs of the local peoples.
Schweitzer piano

Schweitzer at the piano, Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life

With his head clear, Jones befriended the Schweitzers. After a dinner in their bungalow, Albert played the piano to entertain Jones and his wife. When Helene mentioned that her husband was an accomplished concert organist and a theological lecturer, Albert acted modestly, and explained to Jones how he viewed his work and what he hoped to accomplish - using his talent where it was most needed.

One day, some villagers from upstream arrived quickly and petitioned for Schweitzer's help, calling him "Oganga", which he explained to Jones as their word for healer or "Giver and Taker of Life" (in reference to the use of anesthetics). In order to quickly reach the son of a Pahouin chief, Jones offered up his boat, still laden with arms, as a fast way to return to the Pahouin village. On the trip upstream, Schweitzer explained his concepts of Reverence for Life, which Jones began to understand. That evening, they reached the village, and Dr. Schweitzer operated on the chief's son, saving his life. Schweitzer got his patient to promise to work toward easing suffering and not causing suffering. After the surgery, the chief questioned Jones and Schweitzer about the war in Europe, and Jones recognized his own biases about the cost of human life. On the return trip home, Schweitzer helped convince Jones that serving humanity and seeking an end to violence was a greater cause than simply fighting in the war.

Upon their arrival back at Lambaréné, Schweitzer, along with his wife, were arrested by Captain Rostand for deportation - for being German nationals in French territory. While Jones and the Schweitzers pleaded their case, Rostand was firm, and took the couple into custody, leaving the hospital without its caregivers - and dooming the patients to tropical diseases. Dr. Schweitzer and his wife were taken to Port-Gentil, where they bid farewell to a changed Indiana Jones and Remy Baudouin, and boarded a steamship bound for Europe.

Behind the scenes Edit

Friedrich von Thun played the role of Albert Schweitzer in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

After World War I, Albert Schweitzer returned to his hospital in Lambaréné, and continued to minister to the health needs of Gabonese. He also traveled to Europe occasionally to lecture on his philosophy and raise funds for his mission. In 1953, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his philosophy and his lifelong humanitarian efforts. He later campaigned against nuclear weapons. He died in 1965, and is buried in Lambaréné.



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