Insight & Analysis

Peace at last: German students bury classroom skeleton

Published: May 2022

Students at a high school in Schleiden, a western town in Germany, recently buried a long-standing member of their community – the classroom skeleton that had served as an educational specimen for generations of pupils.

School skeleton in science class room

Eighty students, together with teachers and town officials, took part in the ceremony at Schleiden’s Protestant cemetery, where the bones of the unknown woman were buried in a small coffin which featured symbols of all major world religions.

“We are indeed laying to rest a member of the school community to their grave,” said Pastor Oliver Joswig.

The skeleton, nicknamed Anh Bian – which is Vietnamese for ‘mysterious peace’ – had been in the school’s biology department for 70 years, since 1952!

Students had been pushing to have the woman’s remains buried for many years, but plans were delayed due to the pandemic, German news agency dpa reported.

The school is hoping to eventually learn more about the origins of the skeleton once they receive the results of DNA samples taken from the bones.

Biology lessons are now conducted using a plastic model!

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