Photo Credit: Prof.lumacorno via Wikimedia
Skinhead 88 graffiti

Charles Greinsky, 68, a Jewish war veteran, on Saturday told the NY Post that the FCC proposal to replace its 10-digit national suicide prevention hotline number with 988 could essentially be a neo-Nazi plot, because the numbers 88 are part of neo-Nazi and white supremacist lore. This is because the letter H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and the numbers 88 together stand for “Heil Hitler.”

“It’s not just a number,” Greinsky said, noting that neo-Nazis spray painted 88 his temple Back in 2008. Now Greinsky is lobbying Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to push for a different three-digit number.


“You’d have Holocaust survivors and children of Holocaust survivors that are in need of mental health services dialing a number that causes extreme stress and makes people relive some of the worst experiences the world has ever seen,” Greinsky warned the NY Post.

In today’s Germany, Nazi salutes in written form, vocally, and even straight-extending the right arm as a saluting gesture (with or without the phrase), are illegal, punishable by up to three years in prison. Modified versions of the salute are sometimes used by neo-Nazis, and in written form, the number 88 is sometimes used by some neo-Nazis as a substitute for “Heil Hitler.”

An Eighty-eight Butterfly (Diaethria anna) / Charles J Sharp via Wikimedia

Also available for nutjobs’ conspiracy theories:

 Radio 88 is a thriving Israeli pop music station
 “88” is a song by Sum 41 from Chuck
 The 88 is an American indie rock band
 The 88 was the debut album by New Zealand band Minuit (2003)
 The 88 is a residential skyscraper in San Jose, California
 88 Generation Students Group is a Burmese pro-democracy movement
 8.8 cm Flak, known as the eighty-eight, was a German anti-tank and anti-aircraft gun from World War II
 88 is a 2015 film directed by April Mullen, starring Katharine Isabelle
 88 is the atomic number of radium
 The butterfly genus Diaethria has an 88-like pattern on its wings
 The butterfly genus Callicore also has an 88-like pattern on its wings