Roger Waters says ‘dressing as SS officer’ on stage in Germany was ‘clearly’ anti-fascist statement
Roger Waters has said he is the subject of a “smear” campaign after being criticised for ”dressing as a Nazi SS officer” on stage in Berlin.
The Pink Floyd musician shocked revellers who were attening his show in Germany earlier this month when he performed while wearing a long black jacket, gloves, and a red armband adorned with hammers, rather than the Nazi swastika.
Waters, who is currently under police investigation due to the matter, has now commented on the controversy, stating on Saturday (27 May): “My recent performance in Berlin has attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.”
According to the musician, the costume was “quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms”. His show starts with a statement saying he “condemns antisemitism unreservedly”.
Waters continued: “Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated. The depiction of an unhinged facist has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1980.
“I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it.”
He added: “When I was a child after the war, the name of Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she became a permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis in World War II with my father paying the ultimate price.”
Waters’ father was killed at Aprilia, during the Battle of Anzio, in 1944 when he was just five-months old.
“Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will contineue to condemn injustice and all those who perpretrate it,” Waters concluded his statement.
Police chief inspector Martin Halweg told Jewish News: “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.
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”.