Austria has revealed plans to turn Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into a police station after years of debate and legal disputes
above the disputed site.
The three-story building in Braunau Inn, near the German border, will undergo a major renovation, which authorities hope will prevent it from becoming a place of worship for Nazi sympathizers.
Hitler was born in an apartment building on April 20, 1889, as his father worked as a customs officer in the city. The family left Braunau Inn, which was then part of Austria-Hungary when Hitler was three years old.
Plans to turn the site into a police station were first announced in November last year, when the Austrian Interior Ministry launched an EU-wide design competition to renovate it. At that time employees told CNN
in a statement that this move could help deter “National Socialist activity”.
The building in which Adolf Hitler was born, pictured in 2015. Credit: Joe Clamar / AFP / Getty Image
The profit offer from the Austrian company Marte.Marte Architects was present
at a press conference on Tuesday. Digital models show an elongated gable roof, with the current yellow façade replaced by a white one, in line with neighboring buildings.
According to a government press release, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told a news conference on Tuesday that the city had become “the antithesis of everything (for which Hitler stood)”.
“You can recognize a country’s democratic culture by dealing with its history, and it has taken Austria a long time to face its history.” quoted as saying
during the announcement. “Today we are opening a new chapter in dealing with our historical responsibility,” he added.
The fate of the building has long been a contentious issue in the city, where many want to tear down the painful reminder of Hitler’s short time there.
In 2012, the mayor of Braunau am Inn Johannes Weidbacher told an Austrian newspaper The standard
that the city is already “stigmatized.” The three years the Nazi dictator spent there were “certainly not the most formative” in his life, Weidbacher said, adding: “Therefore, we as the city of Braunau are not ready to take responsibility for … World War II (rest outside) . “
Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer presents the selected plan for the architectural redesign of the house where Hitler was born Credit: JOE KLAMAR / AFP / AFP via Getty Images
Others lobbied for the site to be transformed into a community center called “House of responsibility
, “where young people from all over the world could meet and learn about the past.
For decades, the controversial building belonged to Gerlinde Pommer, whose family owned the property before Hitler was born. The Austrian Ministry of the Interior began renting the site from her in 1972, donating it to various charities. But the building was empty by the last occupant, a disability center vacated in 2011.
Four years ago the government announced
that the structure will be demolished. She then had to forcibly acquire it from Pomer, citing a “special legal permit” for the expropriation of the property.
Legal disputes ensued over the seizure and compensation, during which plans to demolish the building were canceled.
The exterior of the building is shown in digital models of the Austrian architectural firm Marte.Marte, which won a competition to renovate the site. Credit: Marte.Marte
After securing the site, the Austrian government remained worried that it might attract neo-Nazis and others sympathetic to Hitler’s ideology. Announcing the decision to turn it into a police station last year, then-Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said that “the future use of the house by the police will be an unmistakable signal that this building will never serve the memory of National Socialism.” “
Currently, the only physical reminder of the building’s past is a memorial stone to the victims of fascism during World War II. Installed in 1989
, shortly before the 100th anniversary of Hitler’s birth, the stone reads: “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. In memory of the millions who died.”
Renovation work on the building is expected to be completed by early 2023 and will cost about 5m euros ($ 5.6m).
Other buildings associated with Hitler’s rule were rebuilt in the postwar era. The alpine retreat of the Nazi dictator, the Eagle’s Nest, is already a restaurant and tourist destination
while the site of his Polish bunker headquarters, The wolf’s lair
, now contains a hotel.