Germany Allows Display of Nazi Gnome

Justice officials in Germany say they will take no action against artist Ottmar Horl for creating a garden gnome raising his right arm in a Hitler-style salute.

Prosecutors have been looking into the matter because the display of any Nazi symbols, including the Hitler salute have been illegal in Germany since the end of World War II.

The investigation in Nuremberg has determined that the gold-painted gnome is ridiculing the Nazis rather than glorifying Nazi ideology, and is meant to counter fascists' ideas and therefore not illegal.

Prosecution spokesman Wolfgang Trag said investigators have interviewed the artist after people complained about the exhibition in Nuremberg displaying the garden gnome.

Trag says the artist was surprised by the "big fuss about nothing."

"It is pretty clear garden gnomes do silly things. In 1942 I would have been shot by the Nazis for this," Horl is quoted as saying.

Horl, a sculptor and president of Nuremberg's Academy of Fine Arts since 2005, has also exhibited the same golden-painted garden gnomes in Belgium, Italy as well as in other German cities without ever experiencing any negative reaction.

Nuremberg is particularly sensitive about the Nazi era. It's considered the birthplace of Hitler's Nazi party and it was the scene of huge Nazi rallies before the war.

After the war the Nuremberg trials, where leading Nazis were tried and sentenced by international war crime judges, took place here.