"He hates to brag, and so I must do it for him."
Helene Schweitzer was a German-born nurse and wife to Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Married in 1912, they moved to Lambaréné, in French Equatorial Africa (modern-day Gabon) in 1913, where her husband began a hospital to treat the local population.
In January 1917, several days after the ill crew of the Collette had been brought to the hospital and treated, Mrs. Schweitzer went out to bring tea to the still-feverish Belgain officer, Henri Defense (Indiana Jones), who had escaped from his infirmary bed in order to guard the weapons on the Collette, and even destroy them with dynamite to protect them from falling into enemy hands. She explained that he didn't have to worry - no one had bothered with the guns in the five days that he had been down with the fever. Jones accepted the tea, but didn't budge from his defensive position.
By the next evening, Jones had realized that the Schweitzers were no threat to him, and joined them for dinner in their bungalow. After dinner, Albert played the piano and Helene explained that her husband had been both a concert organist and theological lecturer with books published in both subjects. Helene was then entertained by an impromptu duet on the piano by her husband and Jones.
Several evenings later, a French patrol boat arrived, with Captain Rostand seeking to take the Germans into custody, as per new orders regarding the deportation of German nationals from French territory. Forced to comply, she oversaw the packing of their belongings under the watch of the French sergeant. When Albert returned from his house call to the Pahouin village with Joseph and Jones, he was also taken into custody. Despite pleas and threats from Jones and Remy Baudouin, the two Schweitzers were taken onto the riverboat for deportation, watching the patients leave the hospital, since there was no longer a doctor.
In Port-Gentil, Jones and Baudouin came to bid farewell to the Schweitzers, and both kissed Mrs. Schweitzer's hand. When Helene went ahead to board the sail tender, Baudouin forced the surly French corporal to help with her luggage. From the sailboat, Mrs. Schweitzer waved farewell to her friends before boarding the steamship to Europe.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
While the episode shows that French policy was wholly responsible for the Schweitzers return to Europe, Helene's health was also a significant contributor forcing their return. They were interned in France for the remainder of the war. While her husband eventually returned to Lambaréné after World War I, Helene's health prevented her full return to work there, though she visited several times in her later years. She and her daughter toured the United States, helping to raise funds for the hospital. During World War II, she returned to Lambaréné to be by her husband's side during the war.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Congo, January 1917" → Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles comic: "German East Africa, January 1917"