2048

The Austrian Government is set to seize the house that Hitler grew up in according to The Guardian

Austria’s cabinet has approved legislation that will allow the state to seize ownership of the house where Adolf Hitler was born, although the government appeared divided on what to do with the building. The interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, reiterated his call for the property in Braunau am Inn to be torn down. But the vice-chancellor, Reinhold Mitterlehner, said the building near the German border had heritage protection and so could not be demolished. He added that it could be used for educational purposes and turned into a museum. Sobotka said the building was not worthy of heritage protection since that status was bestowed by the Nazis after Germany annexed Austria in 1938.

Hitler was born in the house in Braunau am Inn on 20 April 1889. It was made the subject of a historic preservation order by the Nazi government in 1938 after it bought the house. It was returned to the Pommer family, who had reportedly owned it since 1912, in 1952 and passed to Gerlinde Pommer in 1977. The Austrian state has rented the property since 1972 and used it as a daycare centre for people with disabilities, but it has stood empty since 2011 after Pommer refused to allow work to be undertaken to improve accessibility.

Gerhard Baumgartner, head of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW), said the building should be “completely depoliticised” to stop what he said was its growing attraction among neo-Nazis.

“We are seeing a kind of European tourism. Last year there was a bus trip from Hungary visiting, this year different prominent far-right figures stopped on their way through,” he told Oe1 public radio.

Outside there is a stone memorial that reads: “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism, millions of dead warn.”Outside there is a stone memorial that reads: “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism, millions of dead warn.”

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