Artsy Nazi gnomes, on display and for sale

p031_sw2.jpgThe German town of Straubing is hosting an art exhibit by Ottmar Hörl consisting of 1,250 black plastic and shiny gold garden gnomes doing the Hitler salute. Hörl means for this to be a satirical protest of residual fascist sentiment in Germany, but the exhibit was given a green light only after a court in Nuremberg determined that it did not break the post-World War II law that prohibits Nazi symbols and Hitler salutes in Germany. Hörl's Nazi gnomes are actually for sale on his web site. They're 45 euros each, or 120 euros signed. German artist poses 1,250 Nazi garden gnomes


  1. Oh, Lisa, it’s not “the Nazi salute”. It existed long before Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler.

    As I understand it, the German Nazi party during WWII used the facist salute at times, which was supposed to be based on the Roman Empire’s salute. At other times the Nazis used the German military salute, which is the same as the US Army salute.

    I’m mostly an ancient & medieval history boffin, though, so if there are some WWII experts in the house they might give you some better information.

    I kind of like these gnomes. They remind me of the gigantic facist emblems on the walls of the US Senate.

    1. it’s not “the Nazi salute”.

      The gnomes are meant to be Nazis, saluting. I think that makes it the Nazi salute in this case.

      1. Yes, you are right, Antinous.

        And Thorn, yes, you are right too.

        Many miles to go before I sleep… g’night, all.

  2. It’s all fun and games ’til Mossad starts stealing your gnomes right off your lawn in the middle of the night.

  3. I’m not keen on the artist’s concept of satire. Much more important than this, you can buy statuary of gnomes flipping the bird at his site.

  4. Fittingly, the artist’s name is pronounced, more or less, “hurl.”

    Almost worth it to buy one and put video of it melting on a bonfire on YouTube.

  5. I saw an exhibition of these gnomes a few years ago, he had a whole bunch of ’em set up like a nazi party rally.
    I found it to be a great and biting satire of the German people during nazi rule: like little gnomes, all cheerfully standing in line without really thinking for themselves.

  6. I like them. I think they’re quite funny… I mean, how do you show total disrespect to absolute evil? … apparently you make them into cute garden gnomes… I would buy two if I could read and understand German…anyone wanna help me out?

  7. Line ’em up in formation and they’re Nazis- but put one on a curb in NYC and he’s just trying to catch a cab.

  8. Brainspore, we bend our elbow to hail (not heil) a cab in New York, to defeat exactly that resemblance.

  9. A quick GIS of ‘Nazi Dwarves’ will bring up a cover for the book ‘The Little People’ and you’ll see this is nothing new…

  10. I find it interesting that there’s any controversy over these Gnomes and Hummel gets a pass on the figure “Auf Wiedersehen”. At least this artist is being honest and not hiding behind the “they waving handkerchiefs” nonsense.

  11. See also the Bellamy Salute, as used by civilians in the USA, 1892-1942 before it was hurriedly swept under the carpet and replaced with the hand-on-heart gesture.

  12. Hmmm…This gnome bears a rather striking resemblance to Hermann Goering with his fat face — one of everybody’s favorite gnazis. Can Germans display figurines doing the Nazi salute and thus achieve irony? And how do we know they are not just making a political statement? If there were no fascists/neo-nazis in Germany any more, maybe. But there are so many, including recognized far right political parties. I’m surprised the German court gave this their imprimatur.

  13. That war is over and all sides had many casualties. It was a terrible war as are all wars. Let someone comment on the artwork. The amount of publicity this installation has received says that people are reading many things into it and that is what art is all about. This work is creating discussion about the second world war and the atrocities that occurred. People are revisiting and some younger ones are forming their own ideas about past horrors. The gnomes are actually beautifully formed. Their faces are delightful.

  14. Hello,
    does anybody knows where are they made? What is the Plastic Company’s name? Is german??
    Thank you very much.


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