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'Dr. Death' takes body parts online

The Local · 21 Oct 2010, 09:00

Published: 21 Oct 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

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The provocative 65-year-old, known as “Dr. Death” in Germany, recently sent a letter to his body donors, customers and other business partners announcing that www.plastination-products.com would open on November 3, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported this week.

Von Hagens is infamous for inventing a process for transforming the bodies of people and animals into plasticised pieces for his Body Worlds shows – and now such items will be available for purchase online, but only to scientists and medical experts.

An entire plastinated human body will run €69,615, a torso €56,644, and a head €22,015, the paper reported.

See a gallery of von Hagens with the cross sections.

This May, von Hagens, who dresses a bit like an 19th century undertaker, reopened his Brandenburg plastination plant, the “Plastinarium,” after extensive renovations in Guben. He now has some 200 workers creating new plastinations of humans and animals.

But Catholic bishops in Germany reacted to the announcement of the new online shop with indignation.

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

In a group statement, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch and others called on politicians to stop von Hagens from committing what they called “breaking a taboo.”

Many critics have accused von Hagens of exploiting human beings, though all of his subjects have donated their bodies to the plastinator.

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“This is not about new discoveries for science and research, but about picking at bones and spectacle under the guise of medical enlightenment,” Zollitsch said in the statement, adding that the sale of body parts was disrespectful to the dead.

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


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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:42 October 21, 2010 by tallady
Is it mere coincidence that its almost HALLOWEEN
11:13 October 21, 2010 by marimay
I rather liked the comment that has mysteriously vanished.
11:16 October 21, 2010 by William Thirteen
oops...the previous commenter's rant disappeared...but it suggested that the bishops first remove the beam from their own eye before criticizing the mote in someone else's...

I have been to Guben. A nice little town on the Oder. For better or worse the Plastinarium was closed when I visited.

There is a great Gunther von Hagens story in the first comment on this story about the new American embassy in London:

22:42 October 21, 2010 by wxman
Not art, not anatomy. Just ghoulish and disrespectful.
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