Robert Ritter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Luftwaffe Field Marschall, see Robert Ritter von Greim. For the fictional character, CIA Deputy Director of Operations, see Clear and Present Danger and Clear and Present Danger (film).
Ritter (far right) in 1936, talking to a Romani woman

Robert Ritter (14 May 1901 – 15 April 1951) was a German psychiatrist and physician best known for his work for the Nazi state's pseudo-scientific research program on the Romani people.

Born in Aachen, Ritter received his doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Munich in 1927. Continuing his studies in child psychology, Ritter received his doctorate in medicine at University of Heidelberg in 1930.


In 1936, Ritter was appointed to head the newly created Eugenic and Population Biological Research Station of the Reich Health and Sanitation Office. In 1938, Ritter concluded that the gypsy population was not Aryan and estimated that approximately 90 per cent were of mixed race (Mischlinge) and that "here we know we are dealing with primitive nomads of an alien race."[1]

By 1941, his research about the Roma led to Axis forces implementing a policy of genocide against them.[citation needed] Ritter then became chief of the newly created Criminal Biological Institute of the Reich Security Head Office. Ritter's team of researchers included a number of younger race scientists, including Eva Justin, Adolf Würth, and Sophie Ehrhardt.

After the war, Ritter was employed as a psychologist for the Frankfurt Public Health Office, along with Eva Justin. In 1948, at the behest of Roma survivors of the Porajmos, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office opened an inquiry into Ritter's Nazi-era activities. The case was closed in 1950, on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Ritter died on 15 April 1951 at the Hohemark psychiatric clinic in Oberursel from complications of high blood pressure.[2]


  1. ^ Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, p.180
  2. ^ Schmidt-Degenhard 2008, p. 273.

External links[edit]


  • Schmidt-Degenhard, Tobias Joachim (2008). Robert Ritter 1901 - 1951. Zu Leben und Werk des NS-"Zigeunerforschers". Tübingen.