Berlin police investigating Roger Waters for wearing SS officer uniform
Police in Berlin said Friday they have launched an investigation into Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters after he was seen wearing an SS uniform during a concert last week in the German capital.
"We are investigating on suspicion of incitement to public hatred because the clothing worn on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule, thereby disturbing the public peace," Berlin Police spokesman Martin Halweg was quoted as telling the AFP.
"The clothing resembles the clothing of an SS officer," Halweg reportedly added.
Waters performed 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."
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However, 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.
Additionally, 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.
"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 Wednesday.
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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.
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.