The Berlin police have opened an investigation on Friday involving Pink Floyd's co-founder, Roger Waters. The probe was triggered following Waters' controversial wardrobe choice—an SS uniform—during his recent concert in the German capital.
Martin Halweg, spokesperson for Berlin Police, was quoted by AFP as stating, "We have suspicions of public incitement to hatred due to the stage attire, which could be seen as endorsing or justifying Nazi rule, thereby disrupting public peace." He further noted, "The clothing bears a striking resemblance to that of an SS officer."
Waters' performance on May 17 at Germany's Mercedes-Benz Arena was already drawing attention when a message was projected stating, "The show will start in 10 minutes, and a Frankfurt court has ruled that I am not antisemitic." It added, "I want to make it clear: I condemn antisemitism without reservation."
The post-intermission segment of the concert has generated a fresh wave of controversy. Waters made his entrance sporting an SS officer uniform, replete with a red armband and a prop rifle. An inflatable pig, adorned with Third Reich-style banners featuring crossed hammers in lieu of swastikas, hovered over the audience. Screens also highlighted names of victims believed to have been slain by state actors, including George Floyd, anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl, and Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman whose death under "morality police" custody incited significant protests.
Waters’ performance in Nazi regalia is part of “The Wall,” which is based on the 1982 movie of the same name as the Pink Floyd album. In one particular scene in the film, Bob Geldof plays a rock star hallucinating that he is leading a Nazi rally.
The State of Israel's official Twitter account responded critically to the concert, posting, "Good morning to everyone except Roger Waters, who spent the evening in Berlin desecrating the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center also expressed their censure of the event, calling on German authorities to hold Waters accountable for manipulating and distorting Holocaust imagery. They further tweeted, "Shame on Frankfurt authorities and the Mercedes-Benz arena in Berlin for allowing #RogerWaters, a known anti-Semite, to use this venue without considering the feelings of the Jewish community."
Waters has previously faced criticism for what many perceive as antisemitic attacks against both Israel and Judaism. A similar incident occurred in 2013 when he performed wearing a Nazi armband and fired a prop machine gun, while a pig-shaped balloon bearing dictatorial symbols and the Star of David floated above.
Moreover, Waters has come under fire for his comments on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, attributing the instigation to "extreme nationalists" in Ukraine. This sparked significant backlash, leading to the cancellation of his concerts in Poland.