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Obituary for Prof. Dr. habil. Klaus-Dieter Budras

Our highly esteemed colleague and former managing director of the Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medicine at the Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. habil. Klaus-Dieter Budras, unexpectedly passed away on 12th June 2020 in Berlin, only a few days after his 79th birthday.

Klaus-Dieter Budras was born on 4th June 1941 and obtained his university degree in veterinary medicine in Berlin. He obtained his doctoral degree in 1967 and subsequently worked as a research associate at the Institute of Veterinary Anatomy in Berlin.

Shortly after his habilitation in 1971, whose topic was „Das Epoophoron der Henne und die Transformation seiner Epithelzellen in Interrenal- und Interstitialzellen“, he was appointed professor (C2) and in 1983, he accepted the chair of the Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Histology and Embryology as the successor of Prof. Fritz Preuss. In 1990, he got a call to a professorship at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, which he declined.

Both within Germany and beyond, Klaus-Dieter Budras is known as the author of various atlases on veterinary anatomy, which are based on a novel, didactically brilliant way of teaching topographical anatomy including practical-clinical aspects and which he continued to expand in cooperation with colleagues. Multiple editions of his atlases of the anatomy of the dog (since 1983), of the horse (since 1991) and bovine anatomy (since 2002) have been published as well as translated into English, Spanish and Japanese. These atlases, whose publication is going to be continued by a team of authors, will be his lasting legacy.

His research focused on the avian lymphatic system as well as the equine digit and he distinguished himself by copious national and international research papers. In this respect, he was a successful supervisor to a considerable number of doctoral students and habilitation candidates, shaping their scientific careers.

One of his main concerns was the maintenance of the various collections of anatomical specimens. Due to his efforts, the Institute for Veterinary Anatomy owns a large number of exceptionally good specimens, for example the comparative-anatomical collection of veterinary wax models. This collection of 48 unique, detailed topographic-anatomical models is of specific educational value and was created in the 70s under his supervision. He also used these models for his atlases. In addition, he supervised the continual expansion of the comparative educational collection of skeletons, dry and wet specimens and introduced Gunther von Hagens’ method of plastination to the institute. Besides his atlases, his lasting legacy after a professional life dedicated to veterinary anatomy is reflected in these various collections at the institute comprising a wide range of methods of preparation techniques, which are going to be maintained and looked after in keeping with his wishes. In addition, his legacy will be a part of the anatomical education of future generations of veterinarians.

The time after Germany’s reunification was particularly significant in his busy professional life, and he spoke about it often. Along with colleagues from the east and west part of Berlin and by a great deal of personal commitment, he successfully managed to merge the two Institutes of Veterinary Anatomy.

Klaus-Dieter Budras was well liked and respected by his peers, colleagues and students. His affable personality and relaxed way of teaching put students at ease when faced with the difficult subject of veterinary anatomy, making him an exceptional teacher and mentor. He was affectionately, if only secretly, known as “Papa Budras” among students, which can be considered a great compliment.

When he reached retirement age in 2006, Klaus-Dieter Budras left the university to spend his retirement with his wife, who sadly passed away in 2019 after almost 50 years of marriage, a very hard blow for him.


Veterinary anatomy has lost an excellent university lecturer and outstanding veterinary anatomist, who we will remember for his professional expertise as well as affable personality, but also for his wit and wonderful sense of humor.


Our thoughts are with his daughters Corinna and Julia and their families.


Prof. Dr. Johanna Plendl

Prof. Dr. Mahtab Bahramsoltani

Janet Weigner, Preparator

Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin