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A screenshot from the video

Popular American rapper has apologised for her Nazi-themed music video launched on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, despite her video director refusing to do likewise.

Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to say she didn’t come up with the concept, adding: “I’m very sorry and take full responsibility if it has offended anyone… I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”

It comes after Jewish groups reacted in disbelief to the video accompanying Minaj’s new song ‘Only,’ in which animated black and white figures wearing armbands and uniform march in line, inspected by the artist, who is depicted as the leader in skin-tight leather inspecting the troops.

With giant red banners in the foreground and bombers filling the sky behind her, the imagery was immediately likened to a Leni Riefenstahl film.

“It disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism,” said Ab Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialisation of the history of that era,” he added. “The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews.”

Minaj is a music icon who, in 2012, counted 11 Twitter followers, and this week she used the social media site to say sorry and to remind fans that A Loucas, the producer of the video, is himself Jewish.

In stark contrast, video director Jeffrey Osbourne said: “I’m not apologising for my work. The flags, armbands, gas masks (perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazis.”

Explaining how he used American and Italian iconography too, he added: “I think it’s important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future.”

The video, featuring Jewish Canadian artist Drake and Lil Wayne, her mentor, debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” pogrom that signalled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

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