Rammstein’s Holocaust-Referencing Video Is Pissing Off a Lot of People

The German metal group have sparked criticism for using controversial imagery of Nazis and the Holocaust to promote their new single "Deutschland."

Mar 28 2019, 9:40pm

Photo by Santiago Bluguermann/LatinContent/Getty Images

Rammstein are set to release a self-titled album, their first in eight years, on May 17. In the process of promoting the release, the German hard rockers have managed to upset a whole lot of people. This week, the group released a dramatic promo video for their lead single “Deutschland,” which portrayed members of the band at the gallows with nooses around their necks, dressed like prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp with one even donning the yellow Star of David. Understandably, the provocative and deeply upsetting visual caused a bit of controversy.

In particular, the teaser upset Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, who told German publication Bild: “With this video, the band has crossed a line. The instrumentalization and trivialization of the Holocaust, as shown in the images, is irresponsible.” The current president of the Central Council of Jews Josef Schuster added, "Whoever misuses the Holocaust for marketing purposes acts in a deplorable and immoral way" while Felix Klein, who heads Germany's office on anti-Semitism, chimed in: “I think it is a tasteless exploitation of artistic freedom.”

While Rammstein have yet to respond to the backlash, they have released the full nine-minute video for “Deutschland,” which adds some context to the controversial images. Directed by Specter Berlin, the clip reconciles Germany’s violent past by highlighting multiple eras of the country’s history including the Nazi regime. In the song’s chorus, which has been translated from German, frontman Till Lindemann sings, “Germany—my heart in flames / Want to love and condemn you / Germany—your breath cold / So young, and yet so old.” It’s pretty clear the band is critiquing the monstrous actions of their home country and while it’s clear they set to do this in an ambitious and cinematic way, it’s not enough to say it was done in good taste. Watch the video below.