Aus­tria to tear down Hitler birth house

Lesotho Times - - International -

VI­ENNA — The house in Aus­tria where Adolf Hitler was born is to be torn down to stop it from be­com­ing a neo-nazi shrine, the govern­ment said Mon­day, af­ter years of bit­ter le­gal wran­gling with the cur­rent owner.

“The Hitler house will be torn down. The foun­da­tions can re­main but a new build­ing will be erected. It will be used by ei­ther a char­ity or the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties,” In­te­rior Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Sobotka told Aus­trian news­pa­per Die Presse.

“In any case, there shall be no fur­ther con- nec­tion with Adolf Hitler be­cause oth­er­wise the myth of the birth house will be up­held.”

He said the de­ci­sion was based on the rec­om­men­da­tions of a 13-mem­ber ex­pert com­mit­tee tasked with de­cid­ing what to do with the con­tro­ver­sial build­ing in the quaint north­ern town of Brau­nau am Inn.

The govern­ment hopes this will bring to an end a dif­fi­cult chap­ter re­gard­ing the large yel­low cor­ner house where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.

Al­though he only spent the first few weeks of his life at Num­ber 15 Salzburger Vorstadt Street, the ad­dress has be­come a pil­grim­age site for Nazi sym­pa­this­ers from around the world who pose in front of the three-storey build­ing with the Hitler salute. - Stigma ‘not de­served’ - The prop­erty has been empty since 2011 when the govern­ment be­came em­broiled in a dis­pute with owner and lo­cal res­i­dent Ger­linde Pom­mer.

Her fam­ily has owned the 800-squareme­tre (8,600-feet) build­ing for more than a cen­tury, ex­cept for a brief pe­riod dur­ing the Nazi regime when Hitler’s pri­vate sec­re­tary Martin Bor­mann bought the build­ing for four times its value in 1938.

Af­ter the war, the house was re­turned to the Pom­mers in the 1950s.

In 1972, the Aus­trian govern­ment signed a lease with Ger­linde Pom­mer in 1972 and turned the premises into a cen­tre for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

But the ar­range­ment came to an abrupt end five years ago when Pom­mer un­ex­pect­edly re­fused to grant per­mis­sion for much­needed ren­o­va­tion works.

The fa­mously elu­sive owner also re­jected a pur­chase of­fer made by the in­creas­ingly ex­as­per­ated in­te­rior min­istry.

In July, the govern­ment ap­proved a leg­is­la­tion amend­ment to seize the house from Pom­mer who con­tin­ues to net 4,800 eu­ros (around $5,300) in rent every month.

Every year on Hitler’s birth­day, an­tifas­cist pro­test­ers or­gan­ise a rally out­side the build­ing at 15 Salzburger Vorstadt Street, next to a me­mo­rial stone read­ing: “For Peace, Free­dom and Democ­racy. Never Again Fas­cism, Mil­lions of Dead Warn.”

But lo­cals re­sent the at­ten­tion, dis­mayed that their pas­tel-coloured town is known for be­ing the cra­dle of one of the world’s most re­viled po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, rather than for its Gothic ar­chi­tec­ture or pretty river. — AFP

A stone out­side the house in which Adolf Hitler was born, with the in­scrip­tion ‘For peace, free­dom and democ­racy, never again fas­cism, mil­lions of dead are a warn­ing’, in the north­ern Aus­trian city of Brau­nau am inn.

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