Austria split over Hitler house decision

RETAIN OR DESTROY? The Austrian Cabinet passed a Bill to allow officials to seize the house, in order to stop it from being a shrine to neo-Nazis.


    Jul 14, 2016

    Austria split over Hitler house decision


    THE government in Austria appeared divided on what to do with the house where Hitler was born, after its Cabinet approved a legislation on Tuesday that will see the state seize ownership of the building.

    Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka reiterated his call for the house in the town of Braunau am Inn in northern Austria to be torn down.

    But Deputy Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said the building near the German border has heritage protection and so "cannot be demolished".

    He added that it could be used "for educational purposes" such as a museum.

    Mr Sobotka said though that the building was "not worthy" of this status as it was bestowed by the Nazis after Hitler annexed his native country into the Third Reich in 1938.

    The legislation would see the owner, whose family has been in possession of the house for more than a century, forcibly dispossessed after years of fruitless talks.

    The move is aimed at stopping the building from turning into a shrine for neo-Nazis.

    Gerhard Baumgartner, head of the Austrian Resistance Documentation Centre, said the building should be "completely depoliticised".

    "We are seeing that 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.

    "It should be turned into something that nobody wants to be photographed in front of... a supermarket, a Humana (second-hand clothes shop) or a fire station - a sensible usage."

    The house is an unremarkable three-storey yellow-painted building in a quiet town.

    Outside, a stone memorial reads: "For Peace, Freedom and Democracy. Never Again Fascism, Millions of Dead Warn."