Obituary: Prof. Dr. habil. Ernst Ritter (1929–2023)

8 July 2023

It is with great sadness that we have learned that on 11 June 2023, Professor Dr. habil. Ernst Ritter, long-term Chief Editor of Archives Animal Breeding passed away at the age of 94. With him we lose an outstanding scientist and pioneer in the field of hybrid pig breeding, who even in his old age followed the current scientific developments with interest.

Ernst Ritter was born in Schweidnitz, Lower Silesia, on 14 April 1929, and began his scientific career at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. He received his doctorate degree there in 1956 with a thesis on fattening and slaughter performance of German and Swedish improved landraces.

In 1966, his habilitation followed, based on his pioneering research on breeding of the German improved landrace – now called the German Landrace. He developed innovative breeding programs that were successfully implemented into practice. In 1970, Ernst Ritter moved to the newly founded "Research Center for Animal Production Dummerstorf-Rostock", where he headed the pig breeding department. Over a period of more than 20 years, he carried out numerous research projects to develop pig breeding farther. The results of this research were published in relevant scientific journals. Particularly close to his heart was the journal "Archiv für Tierzucht", now "Archives Animal Breeding". He contributed an article to the first issue in 1958, and many others followed. In 1979, he took over the editorship of the journal, which he held until 2005, far beyond his well-deserved retirement in 1994. Today, "Archives Animal Breeding" is an internationally renowned open-access journal, also due to his commitment.

Professor Dr. Ernst Ritter was not only an excellent scientist, but also a valued colleague whose friendly, engaging manner, with which he enriched many discussions and conversations, will be missed. We will keep him in honorable memory.

The Editors of Archives Animal Breeding