In a publication from November 2010, the domestic intelligence service of Brandenburg, Germany, informs the public about licence plate letters and numbers combinations which can be an indication of a right-wing extremist view of the car holder. As a result, in Brandenburg combinations with possible hidden meanings such as HJ (Hitlerjugend), NS (Nationalsozialismus), KZ (Konzentrationslager), SS (Schutzstaffel), and numbers 14 (American Nazi Party), 18 (Adolf Hitler), 28 (Blood & Honour), 88 (Heil Hitler) are prohibited or no longer issued.
Although the other German states do have similar rules, there is no consistent official opinion and regulation within and across states which combinations must be considered anticonstitutional or critical. For example, HH (Heil Hitler?!) – the first two letters on every car registered in Hamburg (Hansestadt Hamburg) by the way – is not seen suspicious in Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg does not worry about the aforementioned number combinations at all.
While both federal and state authorities insist that right-wing extremism is a pan-German problem, it is spread unevenly across Germany’s states. Hence, supposedly, the difference in regulation. Having a closer look at the statistics shows a fact that has long become common knowledge: right-wing extremist violence and crimes are a bigger problem in the former GDR states than in the west.
The current trend shows that left-wing extremism is on the rise while violence and crimes from the right are decreasing. Should we be suspicious of number plates with JS (Josef Stalin), MG (Militante Gruppe) or, as shown in the picture above, of a combination such as R-AF 7477 in Regensburg, Bayern, possibly standing for Rote Armee Fraktion and April 7, 1977, referring to the assassination of Siegfried Buback? Similar examples can be made for possible islamist motivations etc.
Assuming political messages behind German license plates without any other indications for an extremist attitude is plain paranoia and thus makes no good intelligence. Everybody watch out and beware of choosing the wrong licence plate yourself!