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How much for the Hitler House?

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP, EFE
How much for the Hitler House?
  • Austrian state could buy Hitler’s birthplace
  • Follows disagreement with owner
  • Opinion in town strongly divided

What is happening?

The authorities in Austria are said to be consiering buying Adolf Hitler’s birthplace from its private owner.

The aim is to bring a bitter legal battle over ownership to an end, and prevent the house from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Officials say the state would make an offer of compensation to the current owner.

The Hitler House

  • Dwelling is in the northern town of Braunau-am-Inn
  • Adolf Hitler born there on April 20, 1889
  • Empty since 2011
  • Government embroiled in dispute with owner, Gerlinde Pommer.
  • Turned into a centre for the disabled in 1970s

What is the disagreement about?

Five years ago, Ms Pommer unexpectedly refused to grant planning permission for renovation.

She also rejected a purchase offer from the Austrian Interior Ministry.

What do the locals think?

There is heated debate among Braunau’s 17000 residents.

Some think the house should become a refugee centre.

Others say it should be transformed into a museum dedicated to Austria’s liberation.

Some say the dwelling should be demolished. However, as part of the historic centre of Braunau, the house is protected by a preservation order.

What they are saying

“We have come to the conclusion over the past few years that expropriation is the only way to avoid the building being used for the purposes of Nazi sympathisers”Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck.