The Pink Floyd co-founder has been accused of antisemitism over Nazi SS-reminiscent costumes he wore on stage and projecting names of deceased Jewish people during his concerts.
Several Jewish groups, politicians and an alliance of civil society groups gathered for a memorial ceremony and a protest rally against a concert by former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters in Frankfurt on Sunday evening.
They accuse the Pink Floyd co-founder of antisemitism and criticize his support of the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
Frankfurt authorities had initially tried to prevent the concert taking place, but Waters successfully challenged the move in a local court.
The concert took place in the city’s Festhalle where, on 9 November 1938 – Kristallnacht – more than 3,000 Jews were rounded up by the Nazis and later deported to concentration camps.
“Against this historical background, the concert should not have taken place under any circumstances,” said Sacha Stawski, a member of the Frankfurt Jewish community and head of the group Honestly Concerned, that helped organize the protests.
Last week, police in Berlin said they had opened an investigation of Waters on suspicion of incitement over a Nazi SS-reminiscent costume he wore when he performed in the German capital earlier this month. Images on social media showed Waters firing an imitation machine gun while dressed in a long black coat with a red armband.
During the Berlin performance, the names of several deceased people also appeared on a large screen, including Anne Frank’s.
Israel’s foreign ministry criticised the musician on social media: “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.”
Police confirmed that an investigation was opened over suspicions that the context of the costume could constitute a glorification, justification or approval of Nazi rule.
Waters rejected those accusations and said his performance was clearly to show “opposition to fascism”. He wrote in a statement on social media that “the elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”
He added that the depiction of “an unhinged fascist demagogue” has been a feature of his shows since Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1980.