Helene Bresslau-Schweitzer

Helene Bresslau-Schweitzer

Birth
Berlin-Mitte, Mitte, Berlin, Germany
Death 6 Jan 1957 (aged 77)
Zurich, Bezirk Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Burial Lambaréné, Ogooue et des Lacs Department, Moyen-Ogooué, Gabon
Memorial ID 34278577 · View Source
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Humanitarian and Medical Pioneer. She co-founded her husband's famed missionary hospital, Lambarene. The child of a Jewish university professor at Strasbourg, who had his children baptized into Christianity, she was far more learned than most girls of her time. Helene was a skiier, and had studied history, art, philosophy, nursing, and theology. She met Albert Schweitzer thru mutual friends in 1898 and a long courtship, conducted mainly thru letters, ensued. From 1902 to 1903, she worked as a governess and Russian translator in England, but returned to Germany to study nursing. Dr. Schweitzer first informed her of his decision to establish a mission in Africa in 1905. From 1905 to 1909, Helene was inspector of orphanages in Strasbourg, and, in 1908, established the first home for unwed mothers in Europe. She married Dr. Schweitzer on June 18, 1912, and, in 1913, departed with him to Lambarene. There, she served as the anesthetist in his hospital. During WWI, the Schweitzers were, as Germans in a French colony, interned. Helene developed tuberculosis, which resolved, but left her weakened. The birth of her only child in 1919 caused further deterioration of her health, and led to her return to Europe. She and her daughter resided at Konigsfeld, but were forced to relocate to Lusanne in 1932 because of her Jewish ancestry. Moving to New York in 1937, she was kept busy telling America about her husband's work, and raising money. She returned to Lambarene in 1940, and spent WWII sharing the work, before leaving Africa in 1946. She joined Dr. Schweitzer when he received the Nobel Prize in 1953, and made her final visit to Lambarene in 1956.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 28 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34278577
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Helene Bresslau-Schweitzer (25 Jan 1879–6 Jan 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34278577, citing Albert Schweitzer Hospital Grounds, Lambaréné, Ogooue et des Lacs Department, Moyen-Ogooué, Gabon ; Maintained by Find A Grave .