On Sunday, Anchorage Assemblymember and Alaska State Commission for Human Rights Commissioner Jamie Allard defended Alaska vanity license plates “FUHRER” and “3REICH,” arguing on Facebook that the words are innocuous translations of German terms for “leader or guide” and “realm.” The word Fürher is strongly associated with Adolf Hitler, who served as Führer of Germany from 1934 to the end of World War II in 1945, and who presided over the Holocaust. The term “Third Reich” was the Nazi Party’s official designation for its fascist regime. Both terms are heavily incorporated into neo-Nazi and white supremacist subcultures in the United States and abroad.
The situation leading to Allard’s comments began on Friday, when prolific Alaska Twitter user Libby Bakalar posted a photo of the “3REICH” license plate and requested that someone file a complaint. Shortly thereafter, Representative Sara Hannan (D – Juneau) replied that she had initiated a complaint and had inquired about why the plate has been approved by the Alaska DMV.
— Representative Sara Hannan (@RepSaraHannan) January 23, 2021
Alaska statute prohibits “patently offensive” vanity license plates. Per Section 2 AAC 92.120, the State will not issue a vanity plate that includes:
(4) symbols in a combination that demeans an ethnic, religious, or racial group, or that is otherwise vulgar, indecent, or has sexual connotations; any combination known by the department to have a sexual connotation or to be patently offensive to a person of ordinary sensibilities will be considered vulgar or indecent; any combination known by the department to be patently offensive to an ethnic, religious, or racial group will be considered demeaning to that group.
Later on Friday, Suzanne Downing published an article about Bakalar and Hannan’s Twitter posts in Must Read Alaska. Downing describes Bakalar as an “internet sensation who specializes in vulgarity,” and reports that Bakalar had also been made aware of a “FUHRER” license plate. Downing explains the meaning of the term “Third Reich” and the connotation of the word “Fuhrer,” and speculates that both plates may merely be references to the names of Alaskan individuals.
According to State records, both the “FUHRER” and “3REICH” license plates are registered to a 2005 Hummer H2. It is unclear whether the plates are registered to the same vehicle or to different vehicles. The Landmine was able to find a social media account that matches the name of a person who appears to be the registrant for both license plates. The individual is not named either Fuhrer or Reich, and uses an image of a Templar knight as the account profile photo. In recent years, imagery of the Knights Templar has been widely co-opted by alt-right and right-wing extremist groups.
Anchorage Assemblymember Jamie Allard defended the “FUHRER” and “3REICH” license plates in a comment on Downing’s article, claiming that the words are harmless and that “the progressives have put a spin on it and created their own definition.”
Allard doubled-down on Sunday, writing from her “Jamie Allard – Assemblywoman Chugiak – Eagle River” account that she had requested a complete list of banned plates from the State. Allard continued that she had sent a note to former President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who is Jewish, about the appropriateness of the “3REICH” plate.
Writing from her personal account on Sunday, Allard speculated that her defense of the controversial license plates would result in “lively” testimony at the Tuesday meeting of the Anchorage Assembly.