Austrian government wants to seize Adolf Hitler’s birthplace to prevent it becoming a neo-Nazi shrine after owner refuses to sell the landmark building
- Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn in Austria on April 20, 1889
- The landmark building is just 500 metres from the German-Austrian border
- Nazi tourists visited the guesthouse after Hitler came to power in 1933
- The government wants to seize the building to prevent it becoming a shrine
Austria’s government has announced it wants to pass a law so it can seize Adolf Hitler’s birthplace from its owners to prevent it becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in the town of Braunau am Inn, less than 500 metres from the German border.
The large house, which was owned by Hitler’s family for more than a century before the Nazi leader’s birth, is currently owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a resident of the town.
Since the 1970s, the Austrian government has rented the building from Pommer and used it as a centre for people with disabilities.
However, five years ago, Pommer refused permission for authorities to renovate the interior of the building and bring it up to current standards.
Austria’s interior ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grudenboeck said the government needed to act to prevent the building becoming a shrine for extremists.
He told AFP: ‘We are currently examining the creation of a law, which would force a change of ownership and pass the property to the Republic of Austria.
‘We have come to the conclusion over the past few years that expropriation is the only way to avoid the building being used for the purposes of Nazi sympathisers,’
Grudenboeck stressed the current owners would be fully compensated if the state appropriated the property.
The building has been empty since 2011 as a result of the row between Pommer and the government.
Austrian authorities have made attempts to buy the building from Pommer, but these have been rebuffed, leading to the plans to change the law.
The issue has sparked heated debated among Braunau’s 17,000 residents. Some want it to become a refugee centre, others
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