Austria to Tear Down House Where Hitler Was Born

Feared the house becoming a rallying point for neo-Nazis
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2016 4:16 PM CDT
Austria to Tear Down House Where Hitler Was Born
This Sept. 27, 2012 file picture shows an exterior view of Adolf Hitler's birth house, front, in Braunau am Inn, Austria.   (AP Photo / Kerstin Joensson, File)

After a long national debate, Austria has agreed—in principle—to demolish the house where Adolf Hitler was born, the BBC reports. The infamous German dictator was born on April 20, 1889, in a rented room on the top floor of a guesthouse in the town of Braunau am Inn, near the Austria-Germany border. The historic building, which has been preserved for the past century, will be torn down to the foundation, and a new structure built atop the bones in an effort to prevent it from becoming "a neo-Nazi shrine." The only reason it hasn't been destroyed or renovated already is that the current owner, one Gerlinde Pommer, refused to sell it to the government, which currently rents the building from Ms. Pommer for $5,300 a month. AFP says the building has been unused since 2011, when Pommer refused to authorize renovations.

A legal amendment that will allow the government to seize the property is working its way through Austria's parliament. When they officially gain control of the building, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told Austrian newspaper Die Presse: "The Hitler house will be torn down. The foundations can remain but a new building will be erected. It will be be used by either a charity or the local authorities." The demolition is expected to upset some people: many wanted to preserve the house as a museum or refugee center, while others object to the destruction of a historic structure in the cultural center of the town. Authorities, though, say a panel of experts examined the issue and—fearing the site had become an object of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis—determined demolition was the best option. (More Adolf Hitler stories.)

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