By Wyatt Earp | July 20, 2009
What do you get when you take a cute, little, golden gnome and reinvent him in the image of the Nazis?
Well, take an educated guess.
A German artist is under fire for crafting garden gnomes that appear to be giving the Nazi salute. Apparently, they don’t appreciate “creativity” like that in Germany anymore. Go figure.
BERLIN – German prosecutors in Nuremberg have launched an investigation into whether an artist’s gold-coloured gnome giving a stiff-armed Hitler salute violates the country’s strict laws against the use of Nazi symbols.
The gnome, standing 35 centimetres (14 inches) tall, is one of 700 made by German artist Ottmar Hoerl that were displayed in Belgium and Italy. Nuremberg prosecutors are investigating after a complaint to local police, said spokesman Wolfgang Traeg.
“We’ve asked both the artist and the gallery owner to explain what the intention is,” said Traeg, spokesman for the Nuremberg prosecutors. “It’s not a crime if it can be proved that the artist was being critical of the Nazis.”
Well, if nothing else, it is good to know that America isn’t the only country losing its collective mind.
Giving the outlawed Hitler salute or using Nazi symbols is a crime in Germany punishable by up to three years in prison.
Hoerl, who also created the giant blue and yellow euro symbol that was erected in front of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt in 2001, said he was astonished by the fuss about his bearded dwarfs.
“I’d have been executed by the Nazis if I had portrayed the ‘super race’ as gnomes in 1942,” the 59-year-old German artist was quoted telling Stern magazine’s online edition. (H/T – )
Good point. I don’t remember Hitler being too fond of dissent, and I certainly don’t remember him tolerating people comparing his “master race” to garden gnomes.
It’s a shame, too, because this would be a terrific advertising idea for Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome.
I’m just sayin’.