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Albert Schweitzer
Date: German, 1875-1965
Biography: Albert Schweitzer was born on October 29, 1875 in Kaysersberg, a town near Strasbourg in Alsace, Germany (now part of France). Schweitzer has been called the greatest Christian of his time. He based his personal philosophy on a "reverence for life" and on a deep commitment to serve humanity through thought and action. For his many years of humanitarian efforts Schweitzer was awarded the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. By the time he was 21 Schweitzer had decided on the course for his life. For nine years he would dedicate himself to the study science, music, and theology. Then he would devote the rest of his life to serving humanity directly. Before he was 30 he was a respected writer on theology, an accomplished organist, and an authority on the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. In 1904 Schweitzer was inspired to become a medical missionary after reading an evangelical paper regarding the needs of medical missions. He studied medicine from 1905 to 1913 at the University of Strassbourg. He also raised money to establish a hospital in French Equatorial Africa. He founded a hospital there in 1913. Over the years built a large hospital that served thousands of Africans. Schweitzer used his $33,000 Nobel Prize to expand the hospital and to build a leper colony. In 1955 Queen Elizabeth II awarded Schweitzer the "Order of Merit," Britain's highest civilian honor.