Gunther von Hagens’ Macabre Museum Allowed by German Court

Gunther von Hagens is known as Dr Death in Germany Photo: BZ Berlin

The German corpse-taxidermist Gunther von Hagens has been granted the right to open a grisly museum in Berlin featuring his work, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. An administrative court in Berlin overruled the district of Mitte’s ban of the museum, allowing von Hagen’s plans to go ahead.

The district argued that the plastinated bodies should be classified as corpses and claimed that the public display of mortal remains contravened German funerary legislation. However, the court ruled in favor of von Hagen stating that the exhibition organizers will not require a permit as stipulated by the German Funerary Act, because the remains the museum plans to exhibit do not correspond to the definition of a corpse as set out by the legislation.

Although the hearing started on Tuesday, the ruling was delayed because the district of Mitte sent out a press release announcing the outcome of the proceedings before the trial had finished. The claimants appealed against the announcement arguing the move was an attempt to influence the judge’s decision.

Gunther von Hagen’s cut-up, plastinated bodies have attracted controversy for years. According to a statement by von Hagen’s curator, his temporary exhibitions in the past have never been subject to licensing.

The new museum at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz will show about 20 bodies and two hundred preparations.

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