He managed to get around strict anti-Nazi legislation in Germany by saying the gnomes are a satire on Hitler. However, locals have dubbed the models the devil's dwarves.
Garden gnomes remain a favorite in Germany. Experts estimate the gnome population is at 25 million. But there is a growing trend towards gnomes who make obscene gestures, commit suicide or engage in sexual activity, and courts have ordered figures to be removed if they offend neighbors.