Austrian Government to Turn Hitler’s Birth Home into Police Station to Deter Neo-Nazi Pilgrims

After a grueling decades-long legal battle, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler will soon be turned into a police station to repel potential neo-Nazi visitors.

The house, which has belonged to the family of Gerlinde Pommer for several generations, has been a subject of controversy for the Austrian government not only because of its dark historical context, but also because Pommer has refused to sell the building outright without a certain amount of financial compensation.

The Interior Ministry reportedly purchased the lease in 1972 in order to ensure that the building could be rented appropriately—but since Pommer also refused to renovate the space, it was particularly difficult to find tenants.

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Despite how Nazi support has waned over the years, police were also still forced to keep a close eye on the space in order to deter Nazi vandalism, pilgrimage, or interference.

This week, however, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that Pommer would be compensated for the yellow house in Braunau am Inn with $908,000 in payment.

Wolfgang Peschorn, the interior minister of Austria, said that the government will now be holding an architectural competition for the future design of the building, which is marked by a memorial stone reading: “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. Millions dead are a warning.”

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Until the winner of the competition is announced in 2020, designers from across Europe are encouraged to submit their plans for transforming the space.

“The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked,” Wolfgang Peschorn, the interior minister of Austria, said in a statement reported by The New York Times.

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