News24

'Hitler' snowman case dissolves

2010-02-19 14:19

Stuttgart - German prosecutors said on Friday they have dropped an investigation into who built a snowman that bore an uncanny resemblance to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

A group opposed to right-wing activities filed a complaint at the end of January that the snowman violated German laws, which ban the reproduction of Nazi symbols or slogans.

The snowman, with a distinctive Hitler moustache and an arm raised in a Nazi salute, was built outside a pub frequented by right-wing extremists in Schorndorf, near the southern city of Stuttgart.

The case was dropped this week after police were unable to find the culprit, a spokesperson for the Stuttgart prosecutor's office said.

"Not every likeness of Hitler is a forbidden symbol," the spokesperson, Claudia Krauth, told the German Press Agency dpa.

Bizarre cases

By the time the case was dropped, the snowman had melted.

German authorities routinely look into complaints about the use of Nazi symbols.

Last summer, a German sculptor was subjected to an investigation after he exhibited a garden gnome with its arm raised in a Nazi salute.

In 2006 a German trader was fined €3 600 for using crossed-out swastikas on buttons and T-shirts to protest far-right extremism.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe later overturned the verdict, saying it was not a criminal offence to display symbols that are "obviously and clearly" meant to demonstrate opposition to Nazism.