I am searching for a nice, possibly picturesque and idiomatic way of expressing in English what Germans call Schockstarre - being paralyzed by fear.

in Schockstarre verfallen

The word is used, first, to discribe the state some animals fall into when under threat, for example a beetle may have such a condition - not moving, apparently dead, so that a predator would hopefully turn away disinterested. Second, the word is used to picturesquely desribe a similar state in humans; usually ironically.

I tried to find adequate expressions in English but what I found so far seems too normal, not pointed enough to me:

to be paralyzed from shock

to be in a state of shock

These expressions seem to be mere descriptions of an actual state of shock, and I feel they lack the expressive power of German in Schockstarre verfallen (which evoces the picture of a motionless beetle or other funny animal).

Any ideas?

If you need a context: imagine, for example, a newspaper article describing a dangerous international situation, and the White House is unable to do anything meaningful due to inner confusion (I make this up, nothing real is intended here). Or take German car makers who seem to be paralyzed by daily new revelations of their fraudful schemes. Anyway, people who should actually do something, but do conspicuously nothing, and you describe this with irony.



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