Austrian government to seize Hitler's home

Austrian lawmakers vote to dispossess home where Nazi leader was born.

Ben Ariel,

Hitler's childhood home
Hitler's childhood home
Reuters

Austrian lawmakers have voted to dispossess the home where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born, JTA reported on Thursday.

The vote took place on Wednesday night, according to the report, and followed years of the German border town of Braunau and later the national government trying to purchase the home from its owners.

In October, the Austrian government initiated legal procedures to dispossess the home from its owners in an attempt to prevent the site from becoming a shrine to the neo-Nazi community. The Interior Ministry announced at the time that the home would be torn down.

That followed an announcement in April that the building would become state property.

The building at 15 Salzburger Vorstadt St. is listed as a historical landmark, though Hitler’s name does not appear on it.

Some town residents want the building to become a refugee center, while others want to create a museum dedicated to Austria’s liberation from the Nazis, AFP reported. Razing the building would negate the country's Nazi past, an expert commission has said.

Gerlinde Pommer’s family has owned the house where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, for more than a century. The town had tried for decades to purchase the building. A previous deal in 2011 fell through after Pommer refused to allow the government to renovate the building.

The ministry had rented the home for decades and sublet it to charitable organizations, noted JTA. The house, which draws neo-Nazi visitors, especially on the anniversary of Hitler’s birth, has stood empty since 2011.

The decision on the home comes amid a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe – including an 80% rise in Austria over the past year.

In October of 2015, a Jewish cemetery was defiled with Nazi symbols and anti-migrant slogans in western Austria, just weeks after similar attacks on a refugee hostel and Jewish museum.

Several weeks later, Austria's far-right Freedom Party dismissed one of its lawmakers, Susanne Winter, for an anti-Semitic Facebook post.




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