Roger Waters, founder and former lyricist for the rock band Pink Floyd, came under fire for appearing in an SS uniform during a Berlin concert last week.
Waters performed on May 17 at Germany’s Mercedes-Benz Arena where, according to local journalists, a screen projected the words, “The show will start in 10 minutes and a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite.” It continued, “Just to be clear, I condemn antisemitism unreservedly.”
Despite this declaration, the night was filled with various amounts of offensive and antisemitic images. Most notably, after the concert’s intermission, Waters came onto the stage wearing an SS officer uniform complete with a red armband and a fake rifle. Behind him, an inflatable pig floated above the crowd with Third Reich-style banners with crossed hammers instead of swastikas.
In addition, screens displayed various names of victims considered to be killed by state actors, including George Floyd, anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl and Mahsa Amini, the Iranian woman whose death while in the custody of the “morality police” sparked major protests.
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Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh being listed immediately before Holocaust victim Anne Frank drew particular outrage from Jewish and Israeli social media users, including the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
“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,” the State of Israel’s official Twitter account tweeted on Wednesday.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center also condemned the event and called for German authorities to prosecute Waters for invoking and distorting Holocaust images.
“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,” the center tweeted.
It added, “Will Germany prosecute #RogerWaters for Holocaust distortion or will promoters rush to book the anti-Semite for more lurid 3-D anti-Israel + #Antisemitic hatefests masquerading as concerts?”
Waters has previously been criticized and attacked for what many considered antisemitic attacks on both Israel and Judaism. In 2013, Waters performed a similar stunt by wearing a Nazi armband, firing a fake machine gun and using a pig-shaped balloon carrying symbols of dictatorial regimes along with the Star of David. By 2016, his act was condemned by Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman.
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Waters has also criticized the Russia-Ukraine war by claiming it was instigated by “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine provoking Russia. The backlash from that accusation led to Waters canceling concerts in Poland.
His fellow former Pink Floyd bandmates have condemned Waters’ beliefs. In February, guitarist David Gilmour agreed with a Twitter post by his wife, author Polly Samson, that attacked Waters’ character.
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“Sadly @rogerwaters you are antisemitic to your rotten core. Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense,” Samson tweeted.
“Every word demonstrably true,” Gilmour replied.