More Information about Antje Lemke
|Antje Lemke (far right) with Albert Schweitzer’s granddaughter, Christiane Engel, and daughter, Rhena Schweitzer Miller at Chapman University|
Antje Bultmann Lemke (b. 1918) was born in Breslau, Germany, the daughter of Helene and Rudolf Bultmann, one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. As a young girl her father respected Dr. Albert Schweitzer as “a man who pursued the life of the mind without losing touch with his soul or his humanity; a scholar who did not place himself above others, but served them.” *
In 1973, a student of hers, Dorothy Terrino, introduced Antje to Erica Anderson, a filmmaker who won an Oscar in 1958 for her documentary “The Life and Times of Albert Schweitzer” and who had founded the Albert Schweitzer Friendship House in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. They struck up a friendship. Antje helped Erica reorganize the Board of Directors for the “house” and aided in its operation, serving as the President for 10 years after Anderson’s death. Antje became, in many ways, the guardian of Erica Anderson’s extensive collection on Schweitzer and worked diligently for the historical preservation of the relationship between a great photographer and her friend, Dr. Schweitzer.
Antje was instrumental in the transfer of Anderson’s photographic archives to the Syracuse University Library special collections when the Schweitzer’s Center (originally the Friendship House) board sold its house and property in the 1990s.
|Rhena Schweitzer Miller, Dr. David Miller and Professor Antje Lemke at Syracuse University|
Antje also gave what papers she had of her father, including his correspondence with Schweitzer, to the library, and convinced her longtime friend and Schweitzer’s daughter, Rhena Schweitzer Miller, to place her father’s archives at the library.
A life-time of respect for Dr. Schweitzer led Antje to translate Schweitzer’s autobiography Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography (Albert Schweitzer Library) and The Albert Schweitzer-Helene Bresslau Letters, 1902-1912 (Syracuse, N.Y.) into English, making his work more accessible to many.
Ironically, Antje Lemke never actually met Dr. Schweitzer, but in her youth harbored a plan to become a doctor and travel to Africa to work. Her dream had to be abandoned as the only way to go to medical school in Leipzig, Germany in 1938 was to become part of the Nazi Party and that she would not do. So, she went to school to become a librarian.
In her early twenties, Antje used her job as a librarian to offer sanctuary to those escaping to freedom. She also carried important information between members of anti-Nazi resistance, putting her life in jeopardy on more than one occasion.
Antje moved to the United States in 1949 with a degree in Library Science from the University of Leipzig. While visiting Syracuse in 1952, Antje was hired as Syracuse University’s art and music librarian. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from Syracuse University in 1954. When she volunteered to cover classes for a fellow librarian, her teaching career was born and thrived until her retirement in 1986.
When she finally retired from teaching, she wrote in her letter of resignation: “I am especially grateful for having had the opportunity to convey to the next generation what I consider essential in our lives: the seriousness and joy of intellectual pursuit, and the responsibility to act with reason and compassion.”*
*Excerpted from Syracuse Herald American, SU’s Schweitzer Connection, March 1998
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