Our school’s namesake, Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875–1955), is not only known as a philosopher, musician-composer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. As a member of the medical profession he established a bush hospital in Lambarene (Gabon/Central Africa) which he expanded and diversified during his lifetime. There in Africa a tame pet pelican used to be his steady companion; Albert Schweitzer even wrote a book about that pelican by the title “Ein Pelikan erzählt aus seinem Leben”, published in 1950. (“The Story of my Pelican”, 1965)

Albert Schweitzer’s close relationship to the famous pelican may be traced back to the young, helpless bird he had rescued and raised by himself and which grew to be the mascot of his bush hospital.

On the ground this aquatic bird with its conspicuous throat pouch weighs approx. 10 kg and seems to be rather clumsy, but when it soared into the sky above the river Ogooué, it displayed a majestic ease in flight. These birds with a 3m wingspan take off with a surprising swiftness and sail elegantly through the air. Schweitzer’s pet pelican often landed on the roof of the doctors’ home to be admired by visitors.

Just as the lion symbolizes strength, the owl wisdom and the eagle freedom and far-sightedness, thus the pelican embodies the virtue of brotherly love and may be considered an ancient symbol of charity and domestic bliss.

Ever since antiquity animals have embodied human attributes. In many cultures people draw upon animal symbolism in numerous ways. The stylized way in which the pelican is depicted does not only emphasize its symbolic significance but also contributes to our school’s identity and attains a certain recognition value in the viewer’s eyes.

(Translation: Lz 1/15)