web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Artist, in Court for Nazi Salute, Might Liberate Germany of its Past

Should artists be allowed to employ gestures and symbols that may be hurtful to other people?
German artist Ottmar Hörl's Poisoned Gnome uses the Nazi salute as part of an imagined set of toy action figures.

German artist Ottmar Hörl's Poisoned Gnome uses the Nazi salute as part of an imagined set of toy action figures.
Photo Credit: Werner Scheuermann

“Art and science, research and teaching shall be free,” according to Paragraph 3 of Article 5 of the German constitution, reports German radio service Deutsche Welle, asking: But how far can this freedom extend, in a country that only 70 years ago-give or take a year—inflicted slavery and mass murder on the world?

In other words, can you yell Zig Heil in a crowded Germany?

“The use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations”—of which the Hitler salute is way up there, is an offense under German criminal law. Anyone found guilty of the offense, regulated under Section 86a of the Criminal Code, faces from a fine to three years in jail.

But there’s a paragraph in the same law stating that such behavior is not punishable if it involves art.

I’m sure they were thinking about making WW2 movies, which are just unthinkable without those unconstitutional symbols.

The question of how much art is required to protect how much Nazi will surely be answered today, Thursday, in the District Court of Kassel, where German artist Jonathan Meese is standing trial. The state prosecutor has accused him of raising his arm twice to make a so-called Hitler salute in public.

A painter, sculptor and performance artist, Meese is viewed as one of the most provocative figures of Germany’s contemporary art scene. The salutes of which he is accused were made at the event “Megalomania in the Art World,” organized by the German news magazine Der Spiegel in Kassel in early June. Meese had been invited as an expert on both “art and megalomania.” During the public discussion, he advocated what he termed “the dictatorship of art.”

The judge today will decide, hopefully, whether the art clause applies here, or should the provocative Herr Meese be prosecuted for doing the Nazi.

Meese told Der Spiegel magazine: “Of course I am innocent. What I do on stage and in the name of art is protected by the artistic freedom clause in the German constitution.”

So, should artists be allowed to employ gestures and symbols that may be hurtful to other people?

“I can say with good reason that what Meese does is absolutely tasteless,” Peter Raue, an attorney and art expert, told DW. “But tastelessness has never been a boundary for artistic freedom. Rather it’s an intrinsic part of art.”

According to Raue, “Meese has a crazy idea. In a nutshell, if everyone can use the Hitler salute, then it’s no longer taboo.”

Come to think of it – not so crazy. Loaded words lose their punch once they become commonly used. I’ve seen this phenomenon since coming to Israel, where the locals are using the F word freely, including on television, not realizing that Americans hearing it being so openly used respond with an involuntary shock. The Israelis are simply unaware of the special, provocative place the word has in Anglo-Saxon culture, and so, here, it has none of the powers it wields in America or England. As a result, I find myself less shocked each time I hear it used on television. So, maybe the best way to free Germans from the mystique of the Zig Heil is to let them do it a lot.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “Artist, in Court for Nazi Salute, Might Liberate Germany of its Past”

  1. Jane Smith says:

    No, not even artists.

  2. John Keytack says:

    Please don’t beat me up about this, but I have two points. What was the context of this? Was the intent to be a reference to National Socialism? Also, the “Nazi salute” was not original or exclusive. As a military history buff I can tell you that it’s been used before and since the German Nazi era. The same can be said for the swastika. It had existed as a symbol in various cultures for thousands of years. It had merely been “borrowed” as a symbol by the national socialist movement as they were passing through history. It did not belong to them.

  3. interestingly enough the artists(?) name meese ydish meaning is “disgusting.”

  4. interestingly enough the artists(?) name meese ydish meaning is “disgusting.”

  5. were is the free speech and expression, nazi israel.

  6. Leah Sonsino says:

    so you accept the Nazi salute ??

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu to Release Frozen Palestinian Authority Tax Revenue
Latest News Stories
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The PA hasn’t changed anything on their end, so why did Netanyahu suddenly change his policy?

Netanyahu and Saudi King Salman.

Obama’s “two-state” phobia shows how much he and his experts do not understand the Middle East.

Rice

Kosher for Passover? Depends who you ask.

The main suspect confessed to passing on information to Syria through the Internet.

Has anyone asked Obama why Netanyahu should even think about agreeing to a Palestinian Authority country?

A U.S. Air Force F-15 warplane dropped approximately 60,000 leaflets over the Syrian city of Raqaa to discourage people from joining the Islamic State (ISIS), the Pentagon revealed Thursday. The “Military Information Support Operations,” propaganda campaign was carried out last week and was the first time the United States has used the tactic in Syria. […]

Israel reportedly wants to change the names to Hebrew, which would affront Muslim sensitivities.

The non-binding vote approves funds for imposing sanctions if Iran violates a deal.

Congress is ‘fed up’ with being left in the dark on the Iran negotiations

While there’s not much snow left, there are bike trails, hiking trails and extreme mountain sleds.

The White House says another foreign policy failure proves Obama is doing something right, but it not clear exactly what.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he supports Saudi Arabia’s attack on Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen Saudi Arabia has been joined by other oil-rich states, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the Gulf States, all of whom said that “they “have decided to answer the call of President Hadi to protect Yemen and his […]

The former US envoy to the United Nations writes in the NY Times that bombing Iran is the only way to stop a nuclear arms race.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/artist-in-court-for-nazi-salute-might-liberate-germany-of-its-past/2013/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: