18, October 2016
The Austrian government says the house where Adolf Hitler was born is to be torn down to stop it from becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis. The mansion will be replaced with a new building that has no association with the Nazi dictator and used by either a charity or the local authorities, according to Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka. The property has been empty since 2011 amid a government order for the compulsory purchase of the building in a town on the border with Germany, and a dispute with its owner.
The government this year launched formal legal procedures to dispossess the home’s owner after she had repeatedly refused to sell the building. Now a committee of experts including historians, officials and the head of Austria’s main Jewish organization has recommended that a “thorough architectural rearrangement” be carried out.
The plan still has to be formalized in legislation and voted on in parliament. Austria, which was annexed by Hitler’s Germany in 1938, has confronted its Nazi past far less directly than its larger neighbour. The controversial building draws Nazi sympathizers from around the world, visiting and posing in front of the house with the Hitler salute.
The street where the house is located also witnesses anti-fascist protests annually where demonstrators organize rallies outside the building. The news prompted some residents to call for a refugee centre to be built in place of the building amid an unprecedented influx of refugees fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East.