German Police Investigating Roger Waters For Concert Featuring Nazi Imagery

German Police Investigating Roger Waters For Concert Featuring Nazi Imagery

German police have opened a criminal investigation of Roger Waters for “suspected incitement” following May 17 and 18 concerts in Berlin. The Pink Floyd co-founder has been criticized for wearing a uniform (a long leather jacket, gloves, armband, rifle) resembling a Nazi SS soldier, although it was meant to echo Bob Geldof’s fascist character Pink from 1982’s The Wall. An inflatable pig also displayed Third Reich-style banners and a Star of David, a prop Waters has been using since 2010 and was previously defended by the Anti-Defamation League as having “no anti-Semitic intent.”

“The context of the clothing worn is deemed capable of approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims and thereby disrupts public peace. After the conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office for legal assessment,” police chief inspector Martin Halweg told the Jewish News.

Prior to Waters taking the stage, a message flashed at the Mercedes-Benz Arena: “The show will start in 10 minutes and a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite… just to be clear, I condemn antisemitism unreservedly.” (In April, a Frankfurt court ruled that the city could not cancel a planned May 28 show by Waters after city officials dubbed the singer “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world.”)

Screens also displayed the names of victims Waters believes were killed by governments, including Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman beaten to death by the country’s “morality police”; George Floyd; and activist Sophie Scholl, a German student and anti-Nazi political activist who was beheaded via guillotine in 1943 after being convicted of high treason for distributing anti-war leaflets at the University Of Munich.

Anne Frank’s name then flashed immediately before Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist who is believed to have been killed last May by shots from Israeli soldiers during a shootout with Palestinian militants. The Jerusalem Post reported that the juxtaposition of images sparked “outrage from Israeli and Jewish activists and officials around the world.”

The Jerusalem Post also wrote that Waters using images of “humanoid pigs and shady businessmen… pulling the strings” are what activists condemn as clear “antisemitic dogwhistle[s].”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish global human rights organization, condemned the imagery, tweeting, “Shame on Frankfurt authorities and Mercedes Benz arena in Berlin — a place from where Jews were deported by the Nazis — for providing anti-Semite #RogerWaters this venue for his concert with no concern/care for the Jewish community.”

On May 24, the State of Israel’s official Twitter account wrote, “Good morning to every one but Roger Waters who spent the evening in Berlin (Yes Berlin) desecrating the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.”

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