Fritz Anders a friend and a scientist
I first met Fritz Anders in a meeting in Munich on tumor viruses organized by Peter Hans Hofschneider. It was in the late 1970s if my memory serves correct. The meeting was superb, but even more so was the spirit of camaraderie and the simple fun arranged by Peter Hans. When examining the program, most of us were startled by a surprise speaker, Professor Anders, who would talk about fish genetics and cancer. None of us knew this field, but we knew of Peter Hans' tendencies toward making a joke on his colleagues. Thus, we wondered was this to be a real talk and a real speaker. The true surprise began about one-third through Fritz's talk. The system (melanoma and certain other malignancies in fish) with its remarkable genetics fascinated all, and more so was our fascination over the speaker, whose thunderous lecture had us at the edge of our seats, the thunder equaled by the applause at the end of his talk. In closing he remarked that for cancer we may have needed a virus, but he need only the animal with its DNA mutations. We would not forget his talk nor the man.
From the on I had the great pleasure of being with Fritz and his life's companion and co-worker, Annerose, on multiple occasions building a friendship that lasted until Fritz's death from cancer and continuing with Annerose. I learned much more about the fish models, marveled at the leads it provided, and met many of their colleagues.
When one knows Fritz, one must also know the Weiss Weins of Deutschland. Fritz was the most expert connoisseur of wines I have ever known, and of these German wines he was in a class of his own. I first learned this in detail after a lecture in Geissen. Shortly after, cases of different wines were carted into a room filled with his group and others from the University. Fritz called this "having a taste".
One sipped "a taste" of several with a bit of food and listened to Fritz's professional lectures on each, sounding every bit as lucid and enthusiastic as when he spoke of his cancer research. Afterwards Fritz and Annerose brought me to my room where I slept a very deep sleep, awakened by Annerose with a wonderful breakfast tray. We had similar and equally happy experiences with Fritz in the marvelous village of Wilsede in the Luneberger-Heide, where Fritz received a standing ovation (the first and only time I have witnessed that from scientists) following his talk.
Fritz Anders discussing in Wilsede
Fritz Anders at the Wolga-Wilsede-Meeting in Uglich
There is another element of Fritz that reflects his character. He was a scientist equally at home with giving the keynote lecture or in presenting a poster with the younger scientists and even students.
Annerose Anders demonstrating the poster on the WolgaThis same characteristic was evident when he went with Rolf Neth to the high contaminated zones, near Chernobyl, to help in science transfer.
We call this characteristic humane.
There were to be many more such days and evenings for me with Fritz and Annerose but not enough. Losing Fritz is like losing a piece of one's psyche.
by Robert Gallo