German rappers who mocked Auschwitz prisoners agree to visit Nazi camp


(JTA) — The German rappers who brought down a prestigious German music prize over songs containing anti-Semitic lyrics will visit Auschwitz.

Kollegah and Farid Bang accepted an invitation from the International Auschwitz Committee to visit the former Nazi death camp next month, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported.

On April 12, they won an Echo Award in the hip-hop category for an album with lyrics that boasted of physiques “more defined that those of Auschwitz inmates” and called for “another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov” cocktails. The album’s title in English is “Young, Brutal, Good Looking 3.”

Several prominent German musicians, including conductor Daniel Barenboim, returned their Echo Awards in protest.

Last month, the executive board of Germany’s Music Industry Association, or BVMI, announced that it had decided to discontinue the Echo Awards. “The Echo brand is so badly damaged that a complete new beginning is necessary,” BVMI said in a statement. “Echo will be no more.”

“The events surrounding this year’s Echo, for which the board apologized, cannot be reversed, but we can ensure that such a mistake does not happen again in the future,” the board of the association also said.

Following the controversy, Kollegah and Farid Bang apologized for the lyrics, and their record label put up $125,000 for a campaign to fight anti-Semitism.

Award organizers had cited “freedom of artistic expression” in defending their decision to nominate the two rappers.

Artists are nominated for Echo Awards based on sales numbers and not the quality of their work.

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