The Birthplace Of Adolf Hitler May Be Seized By Austria So It Will Not Become A Shrine

The Austrian government is attempting to take control of the house where Adolf Hitler was born so Nazi sympathizers will not turn the site into a shrine.

According to NPR, the Austrian government currently rents the property where Adolf Hitler was born in the Austrian border town of Braunau am Inn, but the government has been trying for years to purchase the home from its current owner. Now the government plans to take legal action in order to make sure the property does not fall into the wrong hands.

“Given the unique nature of the building, its historic significance and the public interest, we’ve decided to begin discussions seeking to lay the legal groundwork for the seizure,” said Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, an interior ministry spokesman.

In order for the birthplace of Adolf Hitler not to become a shrine or any other purpose for Nazi sympathizers, the Austrian government will try to requisition it.

Adolf Hitler infant
Adolf Hitler as an infant circa 1890. By this time, he was no longer living in the building in Braunau am Inn. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Adolf Hitler was born in a rented apartment in the building above a tavern on April 20, 1889. As an infant, he only spent a few weeks there before the family moved. Adolf Hitler later moved; first he went to Vienna and then to Munich. In Vienna, he failed as an artist. His rise to infamy began in Munich, where he was imprisoned after leading a failed coup. Later he’d come to head the Nazi party and become the chancellor of Germany. Adolf Hitler committed suicide in 1945.

Adolf Hitler
At this time, Adolf Hitler was the German Dictator. This photo was taken around 1933, the year Hitler became chancellor of Germany. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Adolf Hitler apparently held very little sentiments for the town where he was born. He made plans to have a museum dedicated to himself in Linz, Austria, according to The New York Times. However, the Nazi government made Hitler’s birthplace a historic preservation site.

Currently, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler is owned by Gerlinde Pommer. The home has been under the care of the Pommer family since 1889. For a time, Martin Bormann, a high-ranking Nazi, bought and restored the building which became a place of attraction and even pilgrimage from 1938 until 1945. The Pommers bought the property back around 1952. Gerlinde Pommer took over the property in 1977, according to the Daily News. If the Austrian government can pass the law to requisition the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, Pommer will be compensated.

Austria began using the home where Adolf Hitler was born in 1972 as a daycare for people who had disabilities. However, in 2011, Pommer would not permit accessibility upgrades to the building and now the house where Adolf Hitler was born is vacant.

Pommer was receiving about $5,700 a month from the Austrian government to rent the building from her. She has refused to make repairs or changes to the building, and it has been falling into a state of disrepair. The last tenant moved out in 2011.

Although the Austrian government has not officially declared what they would do with the property if they hold ownership of it, some suggest blowing the place up or demolishing it. Others hope the building will be turned into a museum to promote peace, to use the building as apartments, or to use it as a center for adult education.

There is a stone outside of the building, but it does not mention Adolf Hitler or the Nazi party. The stone simply reads, “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. In memory of millions dead.”

[Photo by Paul Fievez/BIPs/Getty Images]

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