Alaska Officials Investigate How DMV Issued ‘Nazi’ Vanity License Plates


Alaska officials are investigating after the state Department of Motor Vehicles issued license plates with Nazi terminology.

Photos on Twitter have appeared over the past week of nameplates personalized with the words: “3REICH” and “FUHRER”.

The first plaque refers to the Third Reich, the official name of Germany under the Nazi regime from January 1933 to May 1945, while the second plaque refers to the official title used by Adolf Hitler to define his role of absolute authority.

Meanwhile, a member of the Alaska Human Rights Commission – which investigates complaints of discrimination – has been removed from her position over comments she made about the controversy, in which she defended the plates.

The Alaska Department of Administration has launched an investigation into license plates issued with Nazi terminology by the Department of Motor Vehicles (above)

Photos have been circulating on social media of vanity plaques reading 3REICH' (above), referring to Nazi Germany's name, and 'FUHRER', referring to Adolf Hitler

Photos have been circulating on social media of vanity plaques reading 3REICH’ (above), referring to Nazi Germany’s name, and ‘FUHRER’, referring to Adolf Hitler

Authorities say the two plates in question have since been recalled and replacement standard plates have been issued.  Pictured: license plate reading 'FUHRER'

Authorities say the two plates in question have since been recalled and replacement standard plates have been issued. Pictured: license plate reading ‘FUHRER’

The issue gained attention after a former editor, Matt Tunseth, job a picture of the plate reading ‘3REICH’ on social media.

Tunseth later wrote that he was at a red light in Anchorage on Friday when he saw the plate and took a photo.

And, in an article published on Tuesday, attorney Eva Gardner told the Anchorage Daily News that she saw a black Hummer SUV with a personalized license plate that said “FUHRER” in October 2020.

Debate over the issue gained traction on social media and blogs over the weekend.

On Monday, Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced on Monday that she was ordering a review of the Motor Vehicle Division’s processes to determine how plates were issued.

The division falls under the department of Tshibaka. His statement did not say when the plates were issued.

Tshibaka’s statement says his office learned over the weekend that “several Alaskans were concerned about the messages conveyed” on personalized plates.

Anchorage Assemblyman Jamie Allard (pictured) defended the plaques, writing that

Anchorage Assemblyman Jamie Allard (pictured) defended the plaques, writing that ‘fuhrer’ and ‘reich’ are just the German words for ‘leader’ and ‘kingdom’

She didn’t elaborate on the messages, but a spokeswoman, Kelly Hanke, in response to concerns raised by a state lawmaker, confirmed the office had received complaints about a plaque reading “3REICH.”

Tshibaka said the plates in question had already been recalled by the motor vehicle division and replacement standard plates had been issued to be displayed instead.

She said the department notifies law enforcement of “unauthorized” plates.

“The Alaska DMV has strict guidelines and protocols for issuing personalized license plates, which prohibit references to violence, drugs, law enforcement, race, ethnicity , gender, sexual orientation and other government entities,” she said in a statement.

“The DMV has a recall process in place if a plate is issued that is later found to be inappropriate or offensive, that was used in that circumstance.

Hanke told The Associated Press via email on Tuesday that the “3REICH” plate was recalled in early January and a notice was sent to the owner with a new standard plate.

A list of rejected plates provided by Hanke also included one that read “FUHRER.” She said she believed one of them was recalled in December.

“Once a plate is replaced, its use is illegal. The owner of a vehicle displaying an invalid plate may receive a ticket like an expired tag on a plate,” Hanke wrote.

In response, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy removed Allard from the Alaska Human Rights Commission, which investigates discrimination complaints (above).

In response, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy removed Allard from the Alaska Human Rights Commission, which investigates discrimination complaints (above).

Meanwhile, a state official was kicked off a committee after he defended license plate terms.

Anchorage Assemblyman Jamie Allard wrote on his official Facebook page that “fuhrer” and “reich” are just the German words for “leader” and “kingdom.”

“If you are fluent in the language, you would know the English definition of the word,” she writes.

“Progressives revisited it and created their own definition.”

The page has since been taken down. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy removed Allard from the Alaska Human Rights Commission.

In an email to USA TODAY, Allard said she found the plates “tasteless,” but said her comments were misinterpreted.

“Some political bloggers and members of the assembly claim that I support white supremacy due to recent comments I made asking me what words are not allowed on license plates,” she wrote. .

“As a person of color myself, I unequivocally condemn racism and white supremacy in all its forms.”

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