Gunther von Hagens' newest addition to his displays of preserved human and animal bodies and organs, which have attracted more than 20 million viewers around the world, is aimed at offering the public what he calls a unique view of the preservation process, called "plastination."
Von Hagens, who has faced criticism in his home country, has said he plans to invest the equivalent of at least C$5 million to convert a former woolen factory, creating 200 jobs over five years.
A group of 20 protesters demonstrated against the new "Plastinarium" at its opening Thursday.
"Mr. von Hagens is breaking known taboos and making money at it," said Michael Domke, a Roman Catholic priest, who was among the protesters.
But Klaus-Dieter Huebner, Guben's mayor, welcomed the new factory, saying it would help the economic situation of the depressed town, about 130 kilometres southeast of Berlin.
Plastination preserves the corpses by replacing body fluids with liquid plastic. The plastic is hardened, leaving tissues intact. Bodies can then be displayed without formaldehyde or glass containers, so onlookers can come within centimetres of exposed organs.