Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters is being investigated by German police for incitement to hatred after he dressed up as a Nazi during a performance in Berlin.
Waters, 79, wore a long, black trench coat decorated with red armbands and metal insignia on his collar reminiscent of an SS officer while on stage at the Mercedes-Benz arena last week.
During the performance, Third Reich-style banners also hung from the stage while an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David floated above the audience.
And now, Berlin police have said they are investigating Waters over his choice of dress as it ‘could be used to glorify Nazi rule’.
‘We are investigating on suspicion of incitement to public hatred because the clothing on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule, thereby disturbing the public peace,’ police spokesman Martin Halweg said.
‘The clothing resembles the clothing of an SS officer,’ Halweg added.
Waters is a well-known pro-Palestinian activist who has been accused of holding anti-Jewish views. He has floated an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts in recent weeks as part of his ‘This is Not a Drill’ tour.
Roger Waters, 79, dressed up as a Nazi SS officer when he performed in Berlin last week. German police today said they are investigating him over the costume
An inflatable pig was emblazoned with the logo of an Israeli armaments firm and Jewish stars during the concert in Berlin last week
He compared Anne Frank to Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was fatally shot last year while covering an Israeli Defense Forces raid on a Palestinian refugee camp
During the concert last week, a screen behind Waters displayed the names of Anne Frank and Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was fatally shot last year while covering an Israeli Defense Forces raid on a Palestinian refugee camp.
Germany’s Orthodox Jewish rabbinical association has called for a ban on Waters performing in Germany — but the rocker continues to deny he is anti-Semitic and is only speaking out against Israeli politics.
And some city officials have tried, unsuccessfully, to ban Waters from performing in Germany due to his controversial views.
Throughout his performance last week, Waters tried to draw comparisons between Nazi Germany and present day Israel as he doubled-down on his criticism of the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
Throughout the show, humanoid pigs and shady businessmen were seen ‘pulling the strings.’
At one point, he even pretended to fire a machine gun into the crowd in his Nazi-inspired uniform — which were worn by the members of a fascist organization in the 1982 Pink Floyd film The Wall, which tells the story of a rocker.
A screen shaped like a crucifix also displayed the names of Anne Frank, who it says was killed in Germany because she was Jewish and Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera journalist who the screen said was killed because she is Palestinian.
The Israeli Defense Forces have denied any involvement in her killing.
Waters also sang ‘Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God)’ while the screen behind him flashed ‘F$%& the occupation,’ according to Bell Tower News reporter Nicholas Potter, who observed the spectacle last week.
He would later change into a kutiya, a symbol of the Palestinian resistance against Israel while the words ‘Palestinian rights’ are displayed on the screen.
And following a brief intermission, an inflatable pig flew through the concert venue with demonically-lit eyes and emblazoned with the logo of an Israeli armaments firm and Jewish stars.
At one point, he even pretended to fire a gun into the crowd in his Nazi-inspired uniform — which were worn by the members of a neo-Nazi organization in the Pink Floyd film The Wall
World Jewish leaders, and some governments, have spoken out against Waters’ performance
The performance came after Waters won a legal battle to perform in Frankfurt, Germany, where magistrates had labeled him ‘one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.’
In Germany, there are laws banning the displays of Nazi memorabilia and symbols like the swastika.
Waters is due to play his final German concert in the western city of Frankfurt on Sunday evening, and protesters are planning to demonstrate outside the venue.
Frankfurt city authorities sought to stop the concert but a court ruled against them, citing artistic freedom, though a judge noted that aspects of his show were ‘tasteless’ and were obviously based on imagery from the Nazi regime.
Waters then began the performance in Berlin with an announcement on screen reading: ‘On a matter of public interest: a court in Frankfurt has ruled I am not an anti-Semite.
‘Just to be clear, I condemn anti-Semitism unreservedly.’
But his performance was condemned by Jewish leaders and even several world governments.
Uwe Becker, the anti-Semitism commissioner for the regional state of Hesse, told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily that Waters was promoting ‘hatred and incitement against Israel’ with his shows.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which seeks to educate the public about the Holocaust, tweeted: ‘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.’
And the Israeli government tweeted: ‘Good morning to everyone 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.’
Meanwhile, in the UK, MP Christian Wakeford spoke out against Waters’ upcoming performance in Manchester.
He put forth a motion seeking to ban the concert citing the rising ‘anti-Jewish sentiment’ in the country.
Dave Gilmour’s (center) wife Polly Samson (right) branded Roger Waters (left) a ‘Putin apologist’ and ‘anti-Semitic’
Waters recently shared a link to an interview he had done covering topics like Putin and Israel
Waters has repeatedly denied accusations of anti-Semitism, saying his disdain is with Israel and not the Jewish people.
In a recent interview with German magazine Berliner Zeitung, he claimed that Israel was engaged in ‘genocide’ and compared events to the way Great Britain behaved ‘during our colonial period.’
He said: ‘We believed ourselves to be inherently superior to the indigenous people, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Well, we weren’t and neither are the Israeli Jews.’
Waters then went on to defend Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
‘The most important reason for supplying arms to Ukraine is surely profit for the arms industry,’ he said in the February interview.
‘And I wonder: is Putin a bigger gangster than Joe Biden and all those in charge of American politics since World War II? I am not so sure. Putin didn’t invade Vietnam or Iraq? Did he?’
Those comments were slammed online by Polly Samson, the wife of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who accused Waters of being ‘anti-Semitic’ to his ‘rotten core’ and labeled him a ‘Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-syncing, misogynistic, sick-with-envy-megalomaniac.’
Her husband, Gilmour, 77, liked and retweeted her remarks saying ‘every word’ is ‘demonstrably true.’
In the aftermath, Waters’ team released a response from his own Twitter account, saying: ‘Roger Waters is aware of the incendiary and wildly inaccurate comments made about him on Twitter by Polly Samson which he refutes entirely.
‘He is currently taking advice on his position.’