German rock band Rammstein causes outrage with Nazi imagery

A file photo of the German industrial metal band Rammstein.
A file photo of the German industrial metal band Rammstein. PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images

NOTE: This article contains disturbing imagery. Please read at your own discretion.

German hard rock group Rammstein caused outrage on Thursday for a video promoting its new single that features group members on an execution gallows dressed as concentration camp inmates.

Jewish organizations and the Israeli government criticized Rammstein for the nine-minute-long video, with several organizations calling the music video for the upcoming single, Deutschland, tasteless and unacceptable.

“Whoever misuses the Holocaust for marketing purposes acts in a deplorable and immoral way,” Central Council of Jews in Germany leader Josef Schuster said.

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His criticism was echoed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, describing it as “shameful and uncalled for.”

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“This Rammstein clip, using the Holocaust for advertisement purposes, is shameful and uncalled for,” ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted. “We join the many voices calling for its immediate removal.”

The band’s provocative imagery and lyrics long has drawn accusations its work promotes far-right nationalism, an allegation Rammstein rejects.

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Rammstein has used clips from Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl’s film about the 1936 Olympics in one of its previous music videos.

The Deutschland video features scenes from 2,000 years of German history, presented in the gory style that’s a trademark of the band and its music genre.

Berlin actress Ruby Commey appears as a personification of Germany. In one scene, she appears to wear a Nazi-style uniform. The band members, dressed in the clothes of prisoners at a World War II Nazi concentration camp, are executed while rockets blast off in the background.

Felix Klein, the German government’s commissioner for anti-Semitism, said that if the band used the Holocaust imagery in the video to promote sales, then it was “a tasteless exploitation of artistic freedom.”

Rammstein have yet to respond to the backlash.

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—With files from the Associated Press

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