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Austria Considers Takeover of Hitler's Birthplace

  • VOA News

FILE - The house in which Adolf Hitler was born is seen in the northern Austrian city of Braunau am Inn, Sept. 24, 2012.

FILE - The house in which Adolf Hitler was born is seen in the northern Austrian city of Braunau am Inn, Sept. 24, 2012.

Austria is considering enacting a law so it can seize the birthplace of Adolf Hitler from its private owner, to keep it from being turned into a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's Interior Ministry said Saturday that such a law would force the owner to turn over the property in Braunau am Inn, in return for compensation.

The family of a local resident, Gerlinde Pommer, has owned the property for more than a century. She has refused to sell the property to the state and has also refused to grant permission for renovations. The building is currently vacant.

The house cannot be torn down because it has protected status as part of the town's historic center. Residents of Breslau have varying opinions on what should be done with the space, ranging from a museum dedicated to Austria's liberation to a center for disabled people.

The building is the site of yearly anti-fascist protests on Hitler's April 20 birthday.

Adolf Hitler is notorious as the leader behind Germany's military aggression and mass exterminations of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and homosexuals during the second World War. He committed suicide in an underground bunker in 1945, when it became clear that Germany would lose the war.

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