As German Rapper Slammed for Antisemitic Lyrics Starts National Concert Tour, Jewish Leaders Sound Alarm
by Ben Cohen
The German rapper Kollegah — whose lyrics have mocked Jewish inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp and urged a second Holocaust — was in the public eye again on Friday, as Jewish leaders and educators sounded the alarm over the start of his national concert tour next week.
Henryk Fridman — head of the Jewish community in the city of Offenbach, where Kollegah is scheduled to perform on Dec. 10 — told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the rapper’s songs were “a slap in the face” to the survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants.
And in a separate interview, Meron Mendel — director of the Anne Frank Education Center in Frankfurt am Main — stated that Kollegah remained unrepentant in his views, and that efforts to moderate his enmity toward Jews had not progressed “by even one centimeter.”
Mendel highlighted that Kollegah had continued to make antisemitic and homophobic statements in the press, as well as at his live shows.
The rapper — whose real name is Felix Martin Andreas Matthias Blume — came to international attention in 2018 after he won the hip hop/urban category award at Germany’s prestigious Echo Music Awards, resulting in a storm of protest from fellow musicians and corporate sponsors alike.
One track — “O815,” which Kollegah performed with fellow rapper Farid Bang — declares that “my body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates,” before going on to exhort, “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.”
Despite hopes that a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp last July would mellow his outbursts, Kollegah has remained a source of concern for German Jews.
Richard Bermann — the chairman of the Jewish community in the city of Saar, where Kollegah is due to perform later this month — told a local news outlet on Friday that “spiritual arsonists like Kollegah have no business among us.”
In Munich, the head of the local Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, called on city authorities to cancel Kollegah’s concert there on Dec. 14.
Jewish leaders are citing as a precedent the ban of Kollegah’s show in the city of Rastatt on Nov. 9 — which coincided with the anniversary of the 1938 “Reichspogromnacht,” when Nazi stormtroopers rounded up thousands of Jews and burned down synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses.
The ongoing row over Kollegah’s tour dovetailed on Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s much-publicized visit to Auschwitz.
Dressed in black, Merkel said the crimes committed at the site in southern Poland where the Nazis ran their largest extermination camp would always be part of German history.
“I feel deep shame given the barbaric crimes that were committed here by Germans,” she said.