German rappers criticized for anti-Semitic lyrics visit Auschwitz


(JTA) — Two German rappers who created an uproar with their anti-Semitic lyrics visited the Auschwitz memorial.

Kollegah and Farid Bang made a private visit Thursday to the former concentration camp in Poland on an invitation from the International Auschwitz Committee.

The organization’s vice president, Christoph Heubner, who accompanied them on the trip, told the German news media that the visit was a way of making amends to Holocaust survivors, “and it is also a gesture towards their young fans, showing that hatred, contempt for humanity and anti-Semitism have no place in art.”

The musicians did not speak to the media immediately after their visit.

Heubner said they placed a wreath at Block 11 at the memorial and also met young Germans and Poles who volunteer there.

Kollegah and Farid Bang were the focus of a media firestorm in April after winning the prominent Echo Award in the hip-hop category for an album with lyrics boasting of physiques “more defined that those of Auschwitz inmates” and a call for “another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov” cocktails.

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community of Munich and Bavaria, herself a Holocaust survivor, had condemned the award as  a “devastating” example of the normalcy of anti-Semitism in today’s society.

Numerous artists returned their awards in disgust, and ultimately the German Music Industry Association announced it was canceling the Echo Awards for good. Association officials said they did not want the award to be associated with anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia or the trivialization of violence.

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