Austrian court upholds expropriation of Hitler's home

Austria's highest court rules in favor of government expropriation of house where Nazi leader was born.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Hitler's childhood home
Hitler's childhood home

Austria's highest court ruled on Friday in favor of last year's controversial expropriation of the house where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born, AFP reported.

The government took control of the building in the northern town of Braunau in December after MPs approved an expropriation law specifically aimed at the property.

The move came after years of wrangling with owner Gerlinde Pommer who had been renting the house to the interior ministry since the 1970s and refused to sell it or carry out essential renovation works.

Pommer later declared she would challenge the move at the high court. Deliberations on the issue began last week.

The government said it had been necessary to force a decision on the issue to stop the premises from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

A lawyer for Pommer accused the move of being excessive, but the constitutional court in Vienna sided with the government, arguing that the expropriation was "in the public interest".

"(The house) is vulnerable to becoming a pilgrim site... for neo-Nazi ideology. It was therefore necessary to ensure that no criminal abuses take place," the court said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Judges pointed out that the owner would receive compensation for the property, which also comprises several garages and parking spaces located behind the main building.

The 8,600-feet building has been empty since the rental agreement between Austria and Pommer fell apart in 2011.

Until then, the government had been renting the premises for around 4,800 euros ($5,000) a month and used it as a center for people with disabilities.

The deal came to an abrupt end six years ago when Pommer refused a much-needed upgrade.

It is not yet clear what the government plans to do with the property.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)