Roger Waters Sparks Controversy With Nazi Outfit and Anne Frank Projection
Former Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters has found himself in the middle of controversy after dressing in an outfit resembling that of a Nazi SS officer during live performances in Germany. The 79-year-old musician also projected names of contemporary figures on a giant screen, including Anne Frank, George Floyd, and Shireen Abu Akleh.
Anne Frank was a Jewish teenager who became a victim of the Holocaust. Her personal diary, written while living in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, went on to become one of the best-known accounts of the Holocaust. George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minnesota in 2020, which led to global anti-racism protests and the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Shireen Abu Akleh was an Al Jazeera correspondent who was shot and killed while covering a raid by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on a Palestinian refugee camp.
Waters associated the name of Anne Frank with that of Abu Akleh during his shows leading to a backlash, with some deeming the comparison “antisemitic”. The musician opened his show with a statement that read, “on a matter of public interest, a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite. Just to be clear, I condemn antisemitism unreservedly.”
Earlier this year, some Jewish groups called for the cancellation of Waters’ German shows, including in Frankfurt where the city council cancelled a planned date, claiming that Waters is “considered one of the most far-reaching antisemites in the world.”
Water’s decision to associate the name of Anne Frank with that of Abu Akleh has proved contentious.
Waters has previously compared the Israeli government’s “oppression” of the Palestinian people with the actions of the Nazis under the rule of Adolf Hitler. Speaking to Berliner Zeitung newspaper, he characterised the criticism against him as 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”. Waters claimed that the backlash arose “because I lend my voice to the 75-year-old fight for equal human rights for all my brothers and sisters in Palestine/Israel”, alleging that the Israeli state is committing “genocide”.
Earlier this year, Waters became embroiled in a row with his former bandmate, David Gilmour, and Gilmour’s wife, the writer Polly Samson, who accused Waters of being “antisemitic to your rotten core” in an online row over Israel and the Ukraine war.
The row between Waters and Samson came as Waters sought to attack the “Israel lobby” for trying to “silence” him amid controversy ahead of his concerts in Germany. A number of local politicians and religious leaders called for the concerts to be cancelled over his past comments on Israel, following a backlash in Poland regarding his stance on Ukraine.
The Independent has contacted a representative of Waters for comment.