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Hitler's parents' grave removed

THE tombstone marking the grave of Adolf Hitler's parents, a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis, has been removed from an Austrian village cemetery.

Walter Brunner, mayor of Leonding village, said the stone with the faded black and white portrait photos of Alois and Klara Hitler was taken down at the request of a descendant. Village priest Kurt Pitterschatscher said the rented grave was available for a new lease.

Asked whether he would have trouble persuading people to let their loved ones share a grave with the parents of a man whose name is a universal epitome of evil, Pitterschatscher said: "I really haven't thought about it."

Pitterschatscher said the black marble marker was removed without ceremony by a stonemason hired by the relative, described as an elderly female descendant of Alois Hitler's first wife, Anna. What's left at the site is a white gravel square and a tree.

Her request for termination of the grave was because she was too old to care for it and was tired of it "being used for manifestations of sympathy" for Hitler.

Leonding first assumed cult status for his followers after Hitler visited his parents' grave and the nearby family house following the 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.

The family's Leonding house now warehouses coffins for the cemetery, and unlike the more than 100-year-old grave, it does not draw Hitler fans.