German rock band draws ire with concentration camp-themed video

State education minister calls the clip 'disgusting and disrespectful'

March 28, 2019 15:12
1 minute read.
German rock band draws ire with concentration camp-themed video

Members of German band Rammstein pose with their trophies at the Echo Music Awards ceremony in 2011.. (photo credit: THOMAS PETER/REUTERS)


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German rock band Rammstein has elicited a wave of criticism after posting a video featuring its members dressed as concentration camp prisoners.

On Tuesday, the band released a teaser clip on YouTube, titled "XXVIII.III.MMXIX," which translates to Thursday's date: March 28, 2019. In the video, members of the band are dressed like concentration camp inmates, in striped uniforms adorned with yellow stars, with nooses around their necks. In the 35-second clip, four of the band's six members are seen standing still while attached to a gallows. 

Many believe the band will be releasing a new song, album or other announcement on Thursday.

But the Holocaust references touched off ire among Germany's Jewish community and many politicians.

"With this video, the band has crossed a line," Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bild newspaper. "The instrumentalization and trivialization of the Holocaust, as shown in the images, is irresponsible."

Karin Prien, the education minister in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, slammed the video.

"To use the Holocaust in such a way for advertising purposes is disgusting and disrespectful," she tweeted.

Felix Klein, the government's commissioner for antisemitism told Bild that the video is "a tasteless exploitation of artistic freedom.”

Lasse Petersdotter, a local German politician, tweeted that the band was courting controversy to boost record sales: "Whoever instrumentalizes the Shoah for advertising purposes does so knowingly - and is part of the problem, not part of the solution."

This is the first new video from Rammstein - a band which has long courted controversy - in a decade. In the past, its videos have included nudity, violence, themes of cannibalism and fascist imagery.

In 2009, the band's most recent album was placed by Germany on a list of restricted media, making it illegal for it to be displayed or made accessible to minors.

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