Reprieve for Satire
German Gnome Permitted to Give Hitler Salute
The creator of a garden gnome that gives the Hitler salute will not be prosecuted for displaying banned symbols, prosecutors in Nuremberg have decided. They agree with the artist that the sculpture is intended to make Nazis look ridiculous.
The creator of a "Nazi" garden gnome can breathe a sigh of relief after prosecutors decided to halt an investigation into his satire of the banned Hitler salute.
The public prosecutor's office in Nuremberg announced on Wednesday that it was not pursuing an investigation into the artist Ottmar Hörl and the gallery showing his work. Although the display of any symbols associated with banned organizations -- such as the Nazi Party -- is expressly banned in Germany, this does not constitute an offence if it "shows opposition to the organization and fights against its ideology."
After interviewing both the artist and the gallery owner, the authorities concluded that neither had used any symbols of banned organized in the past.
probe was launched after an anonymous letter arrived at the prosecutor's office complaining about the 40-centimeter sculpture which had been on display in a gallery window. Hörl, an art professor who is president of the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts, protested that the work was clearly meant as satire.
The prosecutors agreed that the intention had been to make the Nazis look ridiculous. Hörl had made it clear to them that the sculpture had been created for an exhibition aimed at criticizing the far-right in Belgium. And the gallery owner confirmed that he had assumed he was selling a piece of work that was attacking right-wing extremism.