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A diener is a morgue worker responsible for handling, moving, and cleaning the corpse (though, at some institutions dieners perform the entire dissection at autopsy). Dieners are also referred to as morgue attendants, autopsy technicians, and other titles that can vary from region to region. The word is derived from the German word Leichendiener, which literally means corpse servant ("diener" means servant.[1][2]).

In the American Moravian Church. German: Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine, the men and particularly the women, who serve in various church services, like the Lovefeast, are called "Dieners", from the German title for their office, Saaldiener or "chapel servant".


Season 5, Episode 14 of Homicide: Life on the Street, in which a morgue attendant is suspected of stealing personal items from the bodies of murder victims, is titled "Diener."

Martha Serpas's poem "The Diener" uses the word in all these ways.


  1. ^ University of Chemnitz. Dictionary De - En. http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de/dings.cgi?o=3021;service=deen;iservice=de-en;query=Diener. Accessed on: March 31, 2007.
  2. ^ LEO GmbH Dictionary/Wörterbuch. URL: http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&p=/oHL..&search=Diener. Accessed on: March 31, 2007.