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Exhibit in Berlin unveils corpses

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BERLIN » Controversial German anatomist ­ on Wednesday opened a permanent exhibit of preserved corpses at Berlin’s iconic Alexanderplatz after months of legal wrangling.

The Body Worlds display includes about 200 organs and 20 complete corpses that have undergone plastination, a process developed by von Hagens in which water and fat in the body is replaced by plastic.

The exhibit’s opening was delayed late last year after district authorities refused to grant von Hagens a permit.

Politicians and church leaders had taken issue with von Hagens’ bid, in part because the plastination and exhibition of corpses contradicted German burial laws.

City planners expressed concern about the exhibition being held on the ground floor of the television tower at Alexanderplatz, a public square in central Berlin popular with tourists.

A court subsequently overturned the decision, and a special permit was granted.

Von Hagens, whose exhibits in Germany and beyond have been a massive success in the past, says that his aim is to educate visitors about the complexities of the human body. Corpses are shown in active poses such as gymnastics and dancing.

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