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'Dr. Death' opens shop selling human cross sections

DDP/The Local · 28 May 2010, 12:48

Published: 28 May 2010 12:48 GMT+02:00

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The provocative 64-year-old, known as “Dr. Death” in Germany, is infamous for inventing a process for transforming the bodies of people and animals into plasticised pieces for his Body Worlds shows. Von Hagens, who dresses a bit like an 19th century undertaker, caused a stir last year in Berlin, where his show “The Cycle of Life" featured dissected corpses having sex.

Now, after 15-months of renovations, von Hagens is opening the doors to his “Plastinarium” in the town of Guben in the eastern German state of Brandenburg. He called the facility a “valuable contribution to medical education, enlightenment and the advancement of health” in a statement.

See a gallery of von Hagens with the cross sections.

In addition to offering hundreds of jobs to locals in the town of 20,000, the Plastinarium will be a place for doctors, students and healers to conduct research, a spokeswoman said.

Von Hagens also plans to offer courses in plastination, in addition to renting out the exhibition space for weddings and parties amid the preserved corpses.

Meanwhile a special shop for medical professionals will sell both human and animal plastinate cross sections. A human lower-leg section will begin at €80, cranial sections will be a steep €1,500, and full-body plastinate cross sections are priced at a whopping €11,000.

Those not willing to pay quite as much can purchase life-sized photographs of the plastinates.

Many critics have accused von Hagens of exploiting the dead, though all of his subjects have donated their bodies to the plastinator. But local parish priest Michael Domke said that his church would not protest the Plastinarium’s reopening as it did in 2006 for fear of increasing publicity.

“We’re not saying anything,” he said.

Click here for a gallery of the controversial Berlin exhibition where corpses were displayed in sexual positions.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile Guben mayor Klaus-Dieter Hübner said the revamped facility was a valuable addition to the town economy.

“With 220 employees the Plastinarium is an important employer in the city and has also become an important economic factor,” he said, explaining that thousands of tourists and visitors were expected to descend on Guben following the opening.

Click here for a gallery of a Body Worlds zoo exhibition in Germany.

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DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:59 May 28, 2010 by William Thirteen
actually Guben is a picturesque little town well worth a visit. It sits just across the Oder river from Gubin, Poland. The Plastinarium was closed when i visited but it was no great loss.
16:07 May 28, 2010 by martell
Von Hagens is not a professor. While in China, his locally used occupational title has been "Visiting Professor" which does not make him a legal "Professor von Hagens" in Germany.

Von Hagens is not an aristocrat. Hes was born as Liebchen; his "von"- family name was acquired via marriage.

Von Hagens has not been able to prove that all of the corpses he has used for his work are those of voluntary donors.
21:39 May 28, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, at some point, a logical sense of ethics and morality must take hold. Without a boundry of some sort, people will do whatever comes to mind.

"Crazy thoughts without discipline are very dangerous."
22:49 May 28, 2010 by bernie1927
Anything for a buck. How tasteless can you get?

Is the little town of Guben that desperate?

It is really despicable what people will do!

Appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Next thing will be public executions - again.
20:37 May 31, 2010 by Kazenra
Oh for god sake enough with the slippery slope arguments.

No there will not be public executions again, that's just stupid and a patheticly weak argument to put against something like this.

I saw his exhibit when it came to the O2 in London, and I've never been to a more fascinating place. Yeah I know its morbid that he turns these people into models to put on display and whatever, but these people donated their bodies and its educational.

Besides how is this any different from skinning animals and turning them into wall pieces etc

At least he's not using the real thing, these people were just used to make the plastic models.
12:29 June 3, 2010 by William Thirteen
i think you have the wrong idea about plastination - these are indeed the real human tissues, simply the fluids are removed and replaced with resin. also, there are some questions regarding over whether or not permission from donors was legally obtained.
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