Working with Dr. Schweitzer

Sharing his Reverence for Life

By Louise Jilek-Aall, M.D.

Book Cover


  1. Meeting Albert Schweitzer
  2. The Challenge
  3. Everyday Life in Lambarene
  4. Visitors to Lambarene
  5. A Birthday Celebration
  6. A Glamorous Visitor
  7. The Hospital Child
  8. The Children's Clinic
  9. The Secret Ritual
  10. Compassion
  11. The Autopsy
  12. Poorest of the Poor
  13. Leprosy
  14. Reverence for Life

    Further Reading

Arriving at Schweitzer's African hospital during an epidemic, Louise Jilek-Aall found her “vacation” from years as a bush doctor anything but uneventful. Her visit became a work experience that she could not forget. Employed as the hospital's pediatrician, at Albert Schweitzer's personal request, her experiences led to important discoveries about herself and Africa. She also discovered something of the Nobel Peace Prize winner's grace and his unique ways of aiding the African people.

In this account of life under the guidance of one of the century's great humanists, Louise Jilek-Aall takes the reader into the atmosphere of the hospital at Lambarene in the 1960s. Her observations of everything from the staff's competitive loyalty to Schweitzer's philosophy of the sanctity of life are vivid and individual. This book is a tender introduction to Schweitzer's Africa.

About the Author

Dr. Louise Jilek-Aall was born in Norway. After studying medicine at the University of Zurich, she did specialized work in tropical medicine in Basel, and, in 1959, went to East Africa for three years. Her first book, Call Mama Doctor, was based on her experiences as a traveling bush doctor, and as medical doctor with the UN forces in the Congo. Dr. Jilek-Aall also holds a degree in Anthropology and has done ethno-psychiatric research in Africa, Thailand, New Guinea, Haiti, and South America. She has also worked extensively with North American Natives in this field. She now teaches Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.


To Dr. Walter Munz, friend and colleague, who has had the courage and endurance to uphold the legacy of "Reverence for Life" and to continue to work at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Africa since the death of Dr. Schweitzer on Sept. 4, 1965.

Copyright © 1990 Louise Jilek-Aall
Reprinted with permission

See also: Summary of Dr. Louise Jilek-Aall's Epilepsy Clinic and Epilepsy Research in Mahenge, Tanzania East-Africa

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