Berlin police say they launched an investigation on Friday into Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters after he was seen wearing an SS uniform during a concert in the German capital last week.
“We are investigating the suspicion of inciting public hatred because clothes worn on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule, thus disturbing public peace,” Berlin police spokesman Martin Halweg told AFP.
“The clothes resemble the clothes of an SS officer,” added Halweg.
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 anti-Semitic.” He continued: “Just to be clear, I condemn anti-Semitism unreservedly.”
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However, after the show’s intermission, Waters took the stage wearing an SS officer’s uniform, complete with a red armband and fake rifle. Behind him, an inflatable pig floated above the crowd with Third Reich-style banners with crossed hammers instead of swastikas.
In addition, the screens displayed several names of victims believed to have been killed by state actors, including George Floyd, anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl and Mahsa Amini, the Iranian woman whose death in custody of the “morality police” sparked huge protests.
“Good morning everyone except Roger Waters, who spent the night in berlin (Yes, Berlin) desecrating the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust,” tweeted the official State of Israel Twitter account on Wednesday.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center also condemned the event and called on German authorities to prosecute Waters for invoking and distorting images of the Holocaust.
“Shame on the authorities in Frankfurt and the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin – a place from which Jews were deported by the Nazis – for providing the anti-Semite #RogerWaters with this venue for his concert with no concern/care for the Jewish community,” tweeted the center.
He added: “Will Germany sue #RogerWaters for Holocaust distortion or will promoters rush to reserve anti-Semitic for more 3-D anti-Israel + anti-Semitic hate fests disguised as concerts?”
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Waters had previously been criticized and attacked for what many considered anti-Semitic attacks on both. Israel and Judaism. In 2013, Waters performed a similar feat 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. In 2016, her act was condemned by the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman.
Waters was also critical of the Russia-Ukraine war, claiming it was instigated by “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine provoking Russia. The backlash to this accusation led Waters to cancel shows in Poland.