German police investigate Pink Floyd's Roger Waters over Nazi-esque concert

Musician heavily criticised for Nazi symbolism used repeatedly throughout Berlin performance

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13:  Former Pink Floyd member, Roger Waters, attends a protest by the We Stand With Shaker campaign group to highlight the situation of Shaker Aamer, the last Briton to be detained in Guantanamo  Bay, outside the U.S embassy on February 13, 2015 in London, England. The protest was called after US Ambassador Matthew Barzun allegedly refused to accept delivery of the card highlighting that Shaker Aamer has been held in detention in Guantanamo Bay for 13 years.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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German police have opened an investigation into Roger Waters after the former Pink Floyd leader appeared on stage in Berlin this month wearing a Nazi-esque uniform.

Throughout the performance Waters also displayed Nazi-like symbolism, used the Star of David on a giant pig and made offensive comments about Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

“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,” Chief Insp Martin Helwig said.

Before the singer took to the stage there was reportedly a message that read: “The show will start in 10 minutes and a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an anti-Semite … just to be clear, I condemn anti-Semitism unreservedly".

Part of the show included the names of people killed by authorities, including German anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl, Mahsa Amini, who died in the custody of Iranian morality police, George Floyd and Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager murdered by the Nazis at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank a year ago, was also mentioned.

The show took place in the city where more than 60,000 Jews were sent to their deaths during the Second World War and where it is against the law to display Nazi symbols or memorabilia.

The State of Israel said on Twitter: "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."

Waters this week said people had been "wrongly accusing me of being an anti-Semite" and that he had been saddened by people trying to cancel his shows.

He also thanked those who had attended his shows in Germany, in a Facebook post in which he also paid tribute to the White Rose movement, an anti-Nazi Germany resistance group.

"The fact that some in power in Germany and some at the behest of the Israeli lobby have attacked me, wrongly accusing me of being an anti-Semite, and have tried to cancel my shows saddens me," Waters said.

"Walking around Munich yesterday afternoon, I couldn't shake off the feeling that I was in the presence of Big Brother. It leaves a bad taste."

MPs want Waters' UK performance cancelled

Waters is due to perform in the UK at the AO Arena in Manchester on June 10 but British MPs are saying it should not be allowed to go ahead amid fears his "divisive actions" could fuel anti-Jewish hatred.

"The city of Manchester has a rich and vibrant history in which those of different faiths and backgrounds have lived together, as well as stood together, through difficult times and times of division," Labour MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, told the House of Commons.

"So I'm concerned to note that Roger Waters is due to play at the AO Arena in Manchester next month.

"Mr Waters performed in Berlin this week and used the name of Anne Frank to stoke division, performed whilst dressed as an SS soldier, and used the Star of David on a giant pig to insinuate that Jewish people run the world.

"The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester has issued a statement condemning his divisive actions.

"Will the Leader of the House agree with me that concerts like this have no place in our society and shouldn't go ahead, and agree to a debate in government time on the record levels in anti-Jewish hatred in this country?"

Roger Waters - in pictures

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt replied: "I think the whole House was very shocked at what [Mr Wakeford has said.]

"I shall make certain that the Home Office has heard his concerns today and I think that this House has made great efforts, particularly in recent years, to ensure that the scourge of anti-Semitism is addressed and stamped out from our country.

"I shall certainly make sure that all relevant departments have heard his concerns today."

The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester said: "Roger Waters is famous for being a member of one of the most important bands in history.

"Unfortunately, he is now more synonymous with spreading deeply troubling political views that will rightly concern Jewish and other communities across Greater Manchester.

"Those who are booking Waters to perform must balance whether it is acceptable to be providing a venue for him to spread these views.

"Jewish communities across Greater Manchester are vibrant and thriving.

"However, allowing Waters to perform risks damaging community cohesion, with the possibility of an increase in hate crime targeting Jewish people."

Updated: May 25, 2023, 9:34 PM

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