Tuesday 25 October 2016

Austrian house where Hitler was born to be demolished

Published 17/10/2016 | 16:16

Adolf Hitler's birth house in Braunau, Austria (AP)
Adolf Hitler's birth house in Braunau, Austria (AP)

The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be torn down and replaced with a new building that has no association with the Nazi dictator, Austria's government has announced.

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The plan, aimed at eliminating the property's significance for neo-Nazis as a place of pilgrimage, still has to be formalised in legislation and voted on in parliament.

But the interior ministry said demolition was recommended by a government-appointed commission.

With the Social Democratic and centrist People's Party in the majority, and most opposition parties expected to support the plan, passage is likely to be no more than a formality.

Interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka said that "a thorough architectural remodelling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building".

Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said that means that except for its foundations, nothing will be left of the house in the western town of Braunau and that a new structure will be erected in its place.

A ministry statement quoted Mr Sobotka as saying he wants to ensure that any association with Hitler is eliminated at the site, adding that he could conceive of it being repurposed to house either government or social agency offices.

The statement said the commission had recommended against leaving the site empty, which could be interpreted as an attempted "denial of Austrian history".

The government this year launched formal legal procedures to dispossess the home's owner after she had repeatedly refused to sell the building or to allow renovations that would reduce its symbolic impact as Hitler's birthplace - and its draw for admirers of the Fuhrer.

The statement said the interior ministry planned to finalise a draft law making the house state property before putting it to a vote in parliament by the end of the year.


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