German rock band Rammstein recently caused controversy with the release of the video for their new single ‘Deutschland’.
Directed by Jorn Heitmann, the video has been accused of using imagery that is reminiscent of the Holocaust.
Although Nazism is never overtly mentioned, the track’s nine-minute video features characters who dress and act in a manner similar to German SS soldiers. These characters are seen hanging members of the band, whose striped pyjamas and star badges seem strongly reminiscent of the attire worn by Jewish concentration camp prisoners during World War Two.
The band, who have not commented on the controversy, has been accused of trivialising the Holocaust, and of using tragedy for artistic gain.
The video has been accused of using imagery that is reminiscent of the Holocaust.
Some have defended the use of the imagery, pointing out that the video is intended to tell viewers the history of Germany. It references many famous and infamous moments of German history, from battles between the Ancient Romans and early Germanic settlers, to the unrest between East and West Germany in the 1970s. It has been argued that it would be wrong to omit mention of the Holocaust from the video, given it is an infamous period of German history.
However, it’s important to remember that any mention of the Holocaust is likely to offend a German audience. Displaying any form of Nazi propaganda in Germany is illegal, as is engaging in any form of Holocaust denial.
‘Deutschland’s lyrics depict Germany as a proud nation with a chequered history, and allude to its flawed past.
It is true that the Holocaust is a part of said flawed past and perhaps warrants some kind of reference in a video focusing on German history.
Yet, as Germans, Rammstein were fully aware of the controversy releasing such a video would cause, and one can’t help but think they have made the Holocaust references so prominent in hope of generating publicity as a by-product of said controversy.