BERLIN, May 29 (AP) – Several Jewish groups, politicians and a coalition of civil society groups gathered in Frankfurt on Sunday night for a memorial service and a protest rally against Roger Waters’ concert.
They accused Pink Floyd’s co-founder of anti-Semitism – an allegation he has denied.
Waters also drew their ire for supporting the BDS movement, which calls for a boycott and sanctions against Israel.
Authorities in Frankfurt initially tried to block the concert, but Waters successfully challenged the move in local courts.
Concerts were held in the city’s concert halls, and in November 1938, more than 3,000 Jews were rounded up, beaten, abused by the Nazis and later deported to concentration camps.
“In this historical context, the concert should not be held under any circumstances,” said Sacha Stawski, a member of Frankfurt’s Jewish community and head of Honestly Concerned, which helped organize the protest.
Elio Adler, head of the Werte Initiative, a Jewish group supporting the protests, told The Associated Press it was “very frustrating” that the concert went ahead despite attempts by Frankfurt officials and many others to stop it .
“His words and images spread hatred of Jews and are part of a trend to normalize hatred of Israel under the umbrella of freedom of expression or art,” Adler added.
Last week, police in Berlin said they had launched an investigation into Waters for allegedly instigating a costume he wore to a performance in the German capital earlier this month.
Images on social media showed Waters, wearing a long black coat with red armbands, opening fire with a mock machine gun. Police confirmed that an investigation had been launched over suspicions that the background of the clothing could constitute a glorification, justification or endorsement of Nazi rule, thereby disturbing public order.
Waters refuted the allegations in a statement on Facebook and Instagram, saying “the elements of my performance that were questioned were clearly statements against fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms.”
He claimed that “attempting to paint these elements as something else is hypocritical and politically motivated.”
Protesters read aloud the names of 600 Jews who were rounded up at the concert hall on November 9, 1939, during Sunday’s ceremony and protest, ahead of Waters’ concert, held in front of the Frankfurt concert venue , so – known as Crystal Night – “Night of Broken Glass” – the Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.
Organizers also held a joint Jewish-Christian prayer for the victims of the Nazi terror attack in Frankfurt. The city’s mayor, as well as the head of the local Jewish community, spoke at the protest.
“Hate against Jews should be condemned everywhere in our city,” Frankfurt Mayor Mike Joseph said, according to German news agency dpa. “There is no reason to hate, insult and attack a person because of his religious beliefs.”
Some 400 protesters handed out leaflets and waved Israeli flags to concertgoers before the show began. Others held signs with slogans such as “Israel, we stand with you” or “Roger Waters, hope you’re not here,” in reference to Pink Floyd, DPA reported. Floyd’s famous song “Wish You Were Were”.
Protesters in Munich rallied against a concert by Waters earlier this month after the city council said it had explored the possibility of banning the show, but concluded that canceling the contract with the organizer was legally ok. impossible.
Last year, the Polish city of Krakow canceled Waters’ show because of her sympathy for Russia in its war with Ukraine. (Associated Press)
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