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Peace at last: German students bury classroom skeleton

May 11, 2022 GMT
Pupils of the Johannes-Sturmius-Gymnasium say goodbye to the coffin with the bones of a school skeleton at the cemetery, where they are being buried, in Schleiden, Germany, May 11, 2022. The real skeleton of an unknown woman, christened Anh Bian by the students, had served as a visual object for the students in biology classes since 1952. It has since been replaced by a plastic model. (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)
Pupils of the Johannes-Sturmius-Gymnasium say goodbye to the coffin with the bones of a school skeleton at the cemetery, where they are being buried, in Schleiden, Germany, May 11, 2022. The real skeleton of an unknown woman, christened Anh Bian by the students, had served as a visual object for the students in biology classes since 1952. It has since been replaced by a plastic model. (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)
Pupils of the Johannes-Sturmius-Gymnasium say goodbye to the coffin with the bones of a school skeleton at the cemetery, where they are being buried, in Schleiden, Germany, May 11, 2022. The real skeleton of an unknown woman, christened Anh Bian by the students, had served as a visual object for the students in biology classes since 1952. It has since been replaced by a plastic model. (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)
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Pupils of the Johannes-Sturmius-Gymnasium say goodbye to the coffin with the bones of a school skeleton at the cemetery, where they are being buried, in Schleiden, Germany, May 11, 2022. The real skeleton of an unknown woman, christened Anh Bian by the students, had served as a visual object for the students in biology classes since 1952. It has since been replaced by a plastic model. (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)
1 of 2
Pupils of the Johannes-Sturmius-Gymnasium say goodbye to the coffin with the bones of a school skeleton at the cemetery, where they are being buried, in Schleiden, Germany, May 11, 2022. The real skeleton of an unknown woman, christened Anh Bian by the students, had served as a visual object for the students in biology classes since 1952. It has since been replaced by a plastic model. (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Students at a high school in the western German town of Schleiden on Wednesday buried a longtime member of their community — a classroom skeleton that had served as an educational specimen for generations of pupils.

Around 80 students, 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 featuring 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, dubbed Anh Bian — Vietnamese for “mysterious peace” — had been in the school’s biology department since 1952.

Students had for years years pushed for the woman’s remains to be buried, but plans to do so were delayed by the pandemic, German news agency dpa reported.

The school hopes eventually to learn more about the origins of the skeleton once the results of DNA samples taken from the bones are returned.

Biology lessons are now conducted using a plastic model.