A German supermarket chain has defended itself against claims it’s Christmas advert is riddled with pro-Nazi messages.
Amidst typical last-minute family Christmas preparation scenes, Edeka’s ad includes two cars whose number plates feature combinations of numbers and letters commonly used by neo-Nazis to covertly identify themselves to each other.
The first car, a Volvo, bears the plate MU SS 420.
‘SS’ is banned on German plates because of its association with the Schutzstaffel, a major paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler.
While openly Nazi symbols such as the swastika are forbidden in Germany, there is a trend for neo-Nazis to get around the law by using such codes, Spiegel Online explains.
In this case, ‘420’ acts as code for Hitler’s birthday – 20 April.
Sabine Bamberger-Stemmann, who is the director of the regional centre for political education in Hamburg, told Manager Magazin of the significance of the second plate, which reads SO LL 3849.
‘84’ is used as code for ‘Heil Deutschland’, and is bracketed by the numbers 3 and 9 which combined stand for ‘Christian Identity’, a known anti-Semitic religious group.
A spokesman for Edeka told German media: “The number plate with MU SS is a fantasy number plate, based on the title song in our spot.
“We regret the fact that a wrong impression is created here. This was in no way our intention.”
But Bamberger-Stemmann said: “I don’t believe it’s a faux pas, as some people are suggesting on the internet. Considering the number of far-right codes accumulated here, that is disarming and implausible.”
As well as the symbolic meanings taken from the number plates, she added the advert seemed to be attempting to convey “an idyllic world, thereby conveying values that the new right stands for.”