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Institute of Anatomy

Memorial grave

Fotos Friedhof Nordheim

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The memorial grave of the Institute of Anatomy of the University of Zurich is a special communal grave for body donors. It is located next to the urn grove of the Nordheim Crematorium. The body donors have voluntarily decided during their lifetime to make their bodies available for research and teaching purposes after death. The memorial is intended to honor and recognize this act of solidarity and the gift of a human being to his or her fellow human beings. We would like to expressly thank the donors for their generosity, and their relatives for their understanding and patience.

Body donation has a centuries-old history and is irreplaceable for medicine. This special form of selfless giving serves first and foremost to train future physicians, to prepare them in the best possible way for their life-saving work. But it also enables established physicians to develop, test and be trained in new surgical procedures. Knowledge of the structure of the human body is one of the basics of medical knowledge and plays a fundamental role, especially in modern applications.

The body donors decide whether they will be buried at their home place or in the memorial grave. The memorial grave was built in 1975 and redesigned in 2022 according to a concept by the artist Patrick Hari. It is marked by a hand made of shell limestone, on which the urns of the body donors can be placed during the burial. The burial ceremony is held twice a year by the Funeral and Cemetery Office together with members of the family.

Students and staff of the Institute of Anatomy of the University of Zurich additionally honor the body donors of the past year at an annual commemorative ceremony.

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Orientation map of Nordheim

Foto Gedenkfeier 2022


At the yearly commemorative ceremony, a candle is lit for each person who has donated their body.