German police to probe Roger Waters over ‘Nazi uniform’ scandal

German police to probe Roger Waters over ‘Nazi uniform’ scandal

Roger Waters is currently under investigation in Berlin after wearing an outfit resembling that of a Nazi SS officer on stage, according to reports.

The Pink Floyd co-founder shocked fans during a concert in the German capital earlier this month.

After opening the show with a statement saying he “condemns antisemitism unreservedly”, Waters performed while wearing a long black jacket, gloves, and a red armband adorned with hammers, rather than the Nazi swastika.

He also projected the name of Holocaust teen diarist Anne Frank on a giant screen during the shows, along with several other names of contemporary figures including George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minnesota police in 2020, and Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed last year while covering a raid by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on a Palestinian refugee camp.

On Thursday (25 May), Jewish News reported that Waters was being investigated by Berlin police over suspected incitement.

Police chief inspector Martin Halweg told the publication: “The State Security Department at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office has initiated a criminal investigation procedure regarding the suspicion of incitement of the people (140 Paragraph four of the German criminal Code).

“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 and thereby disrupts public peace. After the conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office for legal assessment,” the police chief added.

The Independent has reached out to a representative of Roger Waters for comment.

Roger Waters (Getty Images)
Roger Waters (Getty Images)

Earlier this year, some Jewish groups called for the cancellation of Waters’ German shows. Frankfurt city council called off a planned date for the artist, claiming that he is “considered one of the most far-reaching antisemites in the world”.

He had previously compared the Israeli state to Nazi Germany over its treatment of Palestinian people.

Speaking to Berliner Zeitung newspaper, Waters addressed the allegations of antisemitism. He characterised the criticism against him as being part of an “outrageous and despicable smear campaign to denounce me as an antisemite, which I am not, never have been and never will be”.

Earlier this year, Waters was accused of antisemitism by the writer Polly Samson, the wife of his former bandmate David Gilmour.

In an online row over Israel and the Ukraine war in February, Samson accused Waters of being “antisemitic to your rotten core” and claimed her husband’s former bandmate was a “Putin apologist”, saying: “Enough of your nonsense”.

Waters responded on his official account saying he was “aware of the incendiary and wildly inaccurate comments made about him on Twitter by Polly Samson which he refutes entirely”, adding: “He is currently taking advice as to his position.”