The small Austrian guesthouse where Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 could be about to become a languages centre dedicated to helping immigrants, it has been reported.
The issue of what to do with the building in Braunau am Inn has rolled on for decades, amid ongoing fears that it could become a shrine for neo-Nazis if not carefully managed.
At present there is only a small memorial stone to indicate the significance of the structure, which until last year was used as a day centre hosting workshops for people with learning difficulties.
There have been called to turn the house into an anti-fascist information centre, and the mayor of Braunau made headlines around the world when he rejected them saying: “There are already quite enough memorials in the region.”
Hitler’s parents rented rooms at the house, near Linz, so that his father could work as a customs official on the nearby Austro-German border.
When he was three years old they moved to Passau in Bavaria, Germany, but in 1938 Hitler’s private secretary bought the house in Braunau. After the Second World War it came under the control of the Austrian state, and was used as a public library and a bank until 1965.
According to local media reports, little has been done to the house since because the woman who owns it refuses to sell and has blocked any attempt to alter the interior.
The issue has grown to the point where the Austrian interior ministry held a meeting with town representatives last week in Vienna – dubbed the “Birthplace Summit” in the local press – in a bid to find a solution.
The Austrian Times reported that the owner, who has remained anonymous, was presented with plans to turn the house into an “integration centre” teaching language courses and providing other social services.
The newspaper said that “insiders” present at the meeting were confident the scheme would be accepted by its deadline this Friday.