German Hitler-salute garden gnome in the clear

24th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

After a preliminary enquiry over the past week, prosecutors in the Bavarian city ruled that the gnome statue displayed in an art gallery is ridiculing the Nazis rather than promoting a return of the Third Reich.

Berlin -- German prosecutors said on Wednesday they have decided that displaying a golden garden gnome in a Nuremberg art gallery with its right hand raised in a Hitler salute was not illegal.

After a preliminary enquiry over the past week, prosecutors in the Bavarian city ruled that the 40-centimetre (15-inch) gnome is ridiculing the Nazis rather than promoting a return of the Third Reich.

"It is pretty clear that garden gnomes are silly and that they do silly things. In 1942 I would have been shot by the Nazis for this," prosecutors quoted the gnome's creator, artist Ottmar Hoerl, as saying.

Hitler salutes and Nazi symbols have been illegal in Germany since the end of World War II, but prosecutors said they were allowed if they were used clearly to counter national socialist ideology.

They said however that gnomes "have a certain abuse potential" and warned anybody tempted to copy Hoerl's work would also find themselves in their cross hairs.

Nuremberg city has particular resonance when it comes to World War II, as it was the scene of huge rallies by Hitler and also where the trials of Nazis took place after Germany's defeat in 1945.

Hoerl, who expressed surprise at the investigation when it was announced, has also exhibited his golden Nazi gnomes in Belgium, Italy and Aschaffenburg, Germany.

AFP/Expatica

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