Flyers Citing ‘8 Million Germans’ as WWII Victims Alongside Jews Distributed at Roger Waters Concert in Cologne
by Ben Cohen
Fans attending a concert by former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters in the German city of Cologne on Tuesday night were handed flyers that depicted the Jewish victims of the Nazis as merely one of several nationalities and ethnicities, including Germans, who suffered during World War II.
According to RABA, a Cologne-based NGO that monitors antisemitism, the leaflets were distributed by supporters of the DFG-VK Köln, a left-wing pacifist organization. Ostensibly protesting the German government’s decision to supply Ukraine’s democratic government with weapons to counter the ongoing Russian invasion, the flyer cited the slaughter of World War II as a warning of the dangers of armed conflict.
The victim groups included those targeted by the Nazis, among them “24 million Soviet citizens” and “6 million Poles”, but also emphasized the deaths of “8 million Germans” at the hands of the Allied forces. The German toll was placed above the last line of the flyer that acknowledged the murder of “6 million Jews.” Moreover, the figure of “6 million Poles” absorbs the three million Polish Jews exterminated by the Nazis.
In a post on Twitter, RABA said that the purpose of the flyer was “put the Holocaust into perspective.” It condemned the “marginalization” of the “systematically persecuted and industrially exterminated Jews.”
Concern has been rife in Germany over the past few months that Waters’ tour of five German cities will boost growing antisemitism in the country. A supporter of the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a comprehensive boycott as a prelude to its elimination, Waters has been vociferously denounced for using antisemitic imagery in previous shows, including an inflatable pig embossed with a Star of David. Calls to ban Waters under German laws to prevent antisemitism and the abuse or denial of the Holocaust were issued in four of the cities — Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich — while in Frankfurt, the municipal government’s decision to cancel the show was overruled by the city’s Administrative Court last week, which argued that the singer’s “artistic freedom” had been unlawfully curbed.
The inflatable pig was on view in Cologne on Tuesday night, as well as in Hamburg on Sunday, where Waters kicked off his tour. However, the Star of David was absent, replaced with a list of international arms manufacturers that included the Israeli company Elbit Systems.
Around 250 people assembled in Cologne on Monday night to protest Water’s concert. Jewish and Christian groups gathered in the city center for a protest that was addressed by Cologne’s Mayor, Henriette Reker, and the chair of its Jewish community, Abraham Lehrer. A stage banner at the protest declared, “Roger Waters spreads antisemitic statements — fans inform yourselves!”
Waters is certainly not avoiding political controversies during his tour, however. The concert at Cologne’s Lanxess Arena featured a backdrop with the images of every US president since 1981, identifying them as “war criminals.”
As well as attacking Israel, Waters has been a stalwart opponent of western aid to Ukraine. In Feb., Waters appeared at the UN Security Council at the invitation of the Russian mission, where he delivered a rambling address calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine.