German investigators determined in July that a golden garden gnome giving the Heil Hitler salute was not a breach of German law, because, as its creator artist Ottmar Hörl argued, “Portraying the German ‘master race’ as garden gnomes was an ironic gesture.” Well, Hörl and his gnomes are back, this time en masse: 1,250 of the saluting creatures are on display in a public square once used for Nazi rallies in Straubing, Bavaria. The London Times credits the German popularity of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and the theatrical version of The Producers for opening the people’s minds to the use of Nazi symbols to ridicule Hitler, rather than glorify him. But Hörl better hope that life doesn’t imitate art—it’s still illegal for humans to make that infamous gesture. Meanwhile, the people with the most cause for complaint might be the garden gnome loving community; it’ll be hard for anyone who’s seen the sinister display to look at the munchkins with the same affection.
Artist Ottmar Hörl Puts ‘Nazi’ Gnomes on Display [Times of London]