The house where Adolf Hitler was born will not be torn down, as was indicated earlier by Austria’s interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka. Instead, the country plans to fundamentally alter the appearance of the building to hopefully dissuade and deter neo-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers from treating it as a shrine.
After years of legally battling for the custody of the house in which Adolf Hitler was born, Austrian government secured the premises, and it appeared that the building would soon be razed to the ground as it has always been a symbol of gruesome oppression and persecution of the country’s many generations during the brief Nazi dominance. Andreas Großschartner, an Interior Ministry spokesperson, had made it clear the empty house will soon be demolished, reported New York Times. Interestingly, Austria’s interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka had initially confirmed the country’s intentions about the building, when he said,
“The Hitler house will be torn down.”
As expected, there was jubilation in the streets and in the houses of many Austrians who had many of their older generations harassed and worked to death at Nazi concentration camps that operated within and outside the country’s borders. Thousands of Austrians were mercilessly tortured and killed using multiple barbaric techniques by the Nazis. The country has repeatedly tried many senior citizens in the courts. These men had served in the Nazi army, and despite their advanced age, the country thought it was okay to put them on trial for their crimes.
However, many citizens were in for a disappointment when Sobotka clarified to the reporters on Tuesday that the term “torn down” is debatable. Instead of razing the building, the Austrian government will be so thoroughly redesigned that it “will not be recognizable,” he noted. In other words, the government might completely alter the façade of the building located in the western town of Braunau and ensure it looks nothing like its former self.
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Interestingly, it appears the country hopes a cosmetic makeover should be enough to keep neo-Nazis and tourists, who frequent the place, from treating the building as a shrine. Essentially, a new building in Braunau am Inn, in western Austria along the border with Germany and about 75 miles east of Munich, will hopefully obscure all links to Adolf Hitler’s birthplace. Austria is keen on fundamentally altering the place where the Nazi dictator was born and wants to prevent the house from becoming a shrine for neo-Nazi pilgrimage, reported CNN.
Incidentally, many in the country’s administration, led by Sobotka, as well as several citizens, wanted to completely destroy the building and replace it with an entirely new structure. However, a historical commission set up to determine how best to handle the building, advised that the building’s destruction would do more harm than good.
The committee members noted destroying the structure to end its attraction for admirers of the Nazi dictator would give an impression of trying to erase part of Austria’s history. Agreeing with the committee, Sobotka said the following.
“I agree with the commission that a profound architectural redesign makes sense to permanently prevent both the recognition and the symbolic value of the building.”
The “house” is essentially a large, three-story Renaissance-era structure. The building contains an apartment where Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889. This particular apartment was rented by Hitler’s parents. The building also houses a tavern on the ground level.
The building is officially in the hands of the Austrian government. Now that the structure is spared the wrecking ball, it is likely the government may choose to house a charity or administrative offices.
[Featured Image by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]