Nazi symbols found on Belgian license plates

Belgium has not yet made it illegal to have Nazi symbols up in public places, or even on license plates.

Nazi Swastika (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nazi Swastika
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Two personalized license plates in Belgium were seen with antisemitic and Nazi references, according to The Brussels Times.

One license plate had "HH-88", a reference to the Nazi salute and the numerical code for the Nazi phrase. The other one had "1-RAS-88", which refers to "Een ras" which translates to "one race."

Personalized license plates across the world have to be approved by that country's Department of Vehicles Registration (DIV), so these license plates had somehow gotten approved by Belgium's DIV.

What did UNIA do to control the situation?

UNIA, formerly the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Discrimination, called out the Nazi symbols that were displayed in public spaces.

neo-nazi us 224 88 (credit: AP [file])neo-nazi us 224 88 (credit: AP [file])

These groups of nationalists used codes, dog whistles and images to convey their ideology to other sympathizers

"The '1-RAS-88' plate combines both racist hatred and antisemitic references," UNIA said. "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 '1-RAS-88' plate combines both racist hatred and antisemitic references. It is highly unlikely that this choice of the plate was a coincidence, especially considering the €1,000 fee that the person paid for."

UNIA

UNIA has called on the Federal Government to address these incidents: "We first contacted the DIV to report these plates but they weren't willing to deregister them," Danaé Malengreau, spokesperson for UNIA told French-Belgian daily Le Soir. "We also contacted the Minster of Mobility to find out what else could be done."

The Belgian DIV released a letter explaining that the "88" on the "1-RAS-88" license plate referred to "the year the applicant was born" and that the owner assured them that there was no intention of racism or to be offensive at all.

"Such a response seems insufficient, especially in view of the expressly chosen combination of 'Een Ras' '88' and 'HH'," UNIA said.

There are no laws preventing Nazi symbols from appearing on license plates, unlike in Germany. "It is not illegal to have a plate of this style...Belgian legislation is not clear in the matter."

The Minister of Mobility George Gilkinet responded to UNIA saying the results were "shocking, the current legislation does not allow the automatic cancellation of a license plate already in circulation. If a plate is not on the DIV's black list, there is currently little the authorities can do."