‘Dr. Death’ opens permanent show in Guben

17th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 November 2006, Guben, Germany (dpa) - Gunther von Hagens, the German anatomist who has taken his controversial collection of resin-soaked human bodies around the world, opened Thursday a body factory and permanent exhibition in a small German town. Hundreds of thousands of people in Asia, Europe and the Americas have shuddered at the artful poses of skinned, semi-dissected corpses of people and animals at von Hagens' Body Worlds exhibitions. Critics, who say dead people should not be used for entertainm

17 November 2006

Guben, Germany (dpa) - Gunther von Hagens, the German anatomist who has taken his controversial collection of resin-soaked human bodies around the world, opened Thursday a body factory and permanent exhibition in a small German town.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Asia, Europe and the Americas have shuddered at the artful poses of skinned, semi-dissected corpses of people and animals at von Hagens' Body Worlds exhibitions.

Critics, who say dead people should not be used for entertainment, turned out in force to protest Thursday in Guben, where officials provided von Hagens with the former town hall and an empty textile factory at low cost in the hope that the venture would create jobs.

Von Gabens dubbed his site on the Polish border the "Plastinarium," a reference to his term "plastination" to describe the use of coloured resins to preserve dead tissue.

Wearing his trademark broad-brimmed black hat, von Hagens, 61, who has received the title of professor from a Chinese university, said he hoped to manufacture 1 million anatomical cross-sections at the site and would mainly sell them to universities.

Visitors to the Body Worlds shows, one of which was set up at the site, are encouraged to donate their bodies to von Hagens.

German Christians have voiced revulsion at the shows. Lutherans picketed the opening Thursday. One placard said, "No economic development with corpses." Michael Domke, a Lutheran minister, said, "Von Hagens wants to make money by breaching a taboo."

Von Hagens rejected the criticism, saying, "Calling my plastinates 'body parts' is just as wrong as calling the meat on your plate a 'corpse'."

In a 1,000-square-metre workshop that is viewable for a fee, staff can be watched as they embalm and "plastinate" the dead. Skeletons hang from the ceiling, the shelves are full of skulls and human parts await processing.

The mayor of Guben, Klaus-Dieter Huebner, defended the factory, saying one fifth of Guben's workforce was unemployed. The site had already hired 48 staff.

DPA

Subject: German news

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