It has been reported that two personalised vehicle registration plates incorporating Nazi references have been observed in Belgium.
One plate reportedly included the digits “HH-88”, alluding to the phrase “Heil Hitler”, “H” being the eighth letter of the alphabet.
Another had the phrase “1-RAS-88”, a reference to the phrase “Een ras”, meaning “one race”.
UNIA, the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism in Belgium, observed that “it is highly unlikely that this choice of the plate was a coincidence, especially considering the €1,000 fee that the person paid for.”
The Department of Vehicles Registration (DIV) was reprotedly contacted by UNIA but declined to deregister the plates, apparently claiming that the “88” on the second plate referred to “the year the applicant was born” and that the owner assured them that there was no intention of racism nor was offence intended. UNIA was justifiably unpersuaded.
The Minister of Mobility reportedly responded to UNIA agreeing that the response was “schooling” but that “the current legislation does not allow the automatic cancellation of a licence plate already in circulation. If a plate is not on the DIV’s black list, there is currently little the authorities can do.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on news and incidents relating to antisemitism throughout Europe.