Adolf Hitler's birthplace to be turned into care home for disabled

Many people wanted the Nazi leader's first home to be destroyed

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The Independent Online

The Austrian house where Adolf Hitler was born is to be turned into a care home for disabled people.

The property, in the town of Braunau am Inn on the Austria-Germany border, has been the subject of a lengthy dispute between its elderly owner, Gerlinde Pommer and the Austrian government. 

The lower house of country's parliament this week passed a new law giving it power to seize the house after Ms Pommer consistently refused to sell it or allow renovations.

Some local people demanded the property be demolished to prevent it becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis, hundreds of whom visit the town every year. 

But a meeting of Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, Braunau mayor Johannes Waidbacher and provincial governor Josef Puehringer decided the building should be used to help disabled people - a group that suffered persecution under the Nazi regime. 

“Instead of demolishing history, we want to create an antithesis to the Nazi regime," After the meeting Mr Puhringer said. “Its old identity will no longer be recognisable.

“Social use [of the house], as has been the case for many years already, is a life-affirming statement, a homage to the victims of National Socialism and a clear symbol against the crimes committed by Hitler.”

The building had been subject of much debate, with anti-fascist groups and some Austrian Jews calling for its destruction. Others argued it was a vital part of the town’s history and said tearing it down would amount to overlooking Austria’s Nazi past.

Ms Pommer, who once ran the property as guesthouse, will be compensated.

The local government has been renting the property for several years and using it as a centre for disabled people. That arrangement will now be made permanent in the hope the house will continue to be a symbol against Nazi hatred for many years to come. 

The Nazi leader was born on the top floor of the house in 1889. He spent the first three years if his life in Braunau am Inn before his family moved to Passau, Germany.

 

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