Dr. Albert Schweitzer's French Connection
Wenn der Herr Gott im Himmel sienen Engeln When God in Heaven commands his Angels Musik für ihr zu spielen, spielen sie immer B a c h. to play music for him, they always play B a c h. Aber wenn sie Musik für sich selbst spielen, But when they play music just for themselves, Spielen sie immer M o z a r t. they always play M o z a r t .In 1905 Schweitzer announced his intention to become a mission doctor in order to devote himself to philanthropic work, and in 1913 he became a doctor of medicine. With his wife, Hélène Bresslau, who had trained as a nurse in order to assist him, he set out for Lambaréné in the Gabon province of French Equatorial Africa. There, on the banks of the Ogooué (Ogowe) River, Schweitzer, with the help of the natives, built his hospital, which he equipped and maintained from his income, later supplemented by gifts from individuals and foundations in many countries. Interned there briefly as an enemy alien (German), and later in France as a prisoner of war during World War I, he turned his attention increasingly to world problems and was moved to write his Kulturphilosophie, “Philosophy of Civilization”, 1923, in which he set forth his personal philosophy of “reverence for life,” an ethical principle involving all living things, which he believed essential to the survival of civilization. Schweitzer returned to Africa in 1924 to rebuild the derelict hospital, which he relocated some two miles up the Ogooué River. A leper colony was added later. By 1963 there were 350 patients with their relatives at the hospital and 150 patients in the leper colony, all served by about 36 white physicians, nurses, and varying numbers of native workers. Schweitzer never entirely abandoned his musical or scholarly interests. He published Die Mystik des Apostels Paulus, "The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle," 1930, gave lectures and organ recitals throughout Europe, made recordings, and resumed his editing of Bach's works, begun with Widor in 1911 (Bachs Orgelwerke, 1912–14). His address upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Das Problem des Friedens in der heutigen Welt, "The Problem of Peace in the World of Today," 1954, had a worldwide circulation.
Out of My Life and Thought