Should Hitler’s Childhood Home Be Turned Into A Museum Or Torn Down?
Last week, the Austrian government seized the house in which Adolf Hitler was born in order to prevent it from getting into the hands of neo-Nazis.
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The three-story building, located in the heart of Braunau am Inn, a town in northern Austria near the border with Germany has been in the care of one family for over a century. Adolf Hitler was born April 20, 1889.
Landlady Gerlinde Pommer received £3,800 a month to not let anyone take ownership of the home. She refused to sell it or have it re-built.
Two weeks ago, Austria’s parliament authorized the seizure of the property from its current owner under the country’s eminent domain laws.
The building has been used as an international attraction for neo-Nazis for years as well as many curious travelers. As a result, the ministry of the Interior has wanted to tear the building down.
The three story building is run-down with faded yellow walls. There are chunks missing from the wall after souvenir hunters decided to gouge out some of the pieces. At the time of Hitler’s birth, the house was used as a pub. In 1952, the building was given back to its original owners and would be used as a library, a daycare center for disabled persons and as a technical college.
During Hitler’s reign as Third Reich leader, his personal secretary, Martin Bormann bought the house and turned it into a cult center with an art gallery.
Outside the house is a stone from Mauthausen, an Austrian concentration camp where tens of thousands of people were murdered during the Holocaust. It reads, “For Peace, Freedom and Democracy. Never Again Fascism. Millions of Dead Remind Us.”
When Austria dispossesses the home, it is unclear whether or not if they will tear it down or to turn it into a museum honoring the victims of Nazism.
Reinhold Mitterlehner, vice-chancellor of Austria, wants the building to receive heritage protections so that it can be used as a museum where people can learn about it’s history.
Wolfgang Sobotka, the state’s interior minister, wants the building to be demolished, saying that it does not deserve cultural protection status. “The decision is necessary because the Republic would like to prevent this house from becoming a ‘cult site’ for neo-Nazis in any way, which it has been repeatedly in the past, when people gathered there to shout slogans,” Sobotka said in a statement to reporters before a cabinet meeting.
The Austrian government appointed a 12 person committee to decide the fate of the building.