Hitler busts, Nazi-era paintings found in Austrian Parliament building

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September 17, 2017 07:44

A box in the basement revealed the historic surprise.

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Hitler busts, Nazi-era paintings found in Austrian Parliament building

A long-time exposure shows the Austrian Parliament with lights turned off during Earth Hour in Vienna, Austria March 19, 2016. (photo credit:REUTERS/HEINZ-PETER BADER)

A building that has seen the fall of an empire, two world wars, and the modern age contains many secrets.

Workers in Vienna uncovered pieces of the Austrian Parliament building's hidden history during renovations of the neoclassical structure, parliament officials on Friday said.

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Two Hitler busts, four Nazi-era paintings and a relief were discovered in a box in the 134-year-old building's basement.

“It’s not really a surprise when you clear out a building after 130 years,” a parliament spokeswoman told AFP. "We expected to make discoveries like this."

The building was turned into a "Gauhaus" or local Nazi Pary headquarters from the annexation of Austria (Anschluss) in 1938 until the fall of the Third Reich in 1945.

The newly-discovered artworks were handed to historians Bertrand Perz and Verena Pawlowsky from the University of Vienna, who are researching the Nazi-era history of the building.

After their research is completed, Perz and Pawlowsky will recommend to the Parliament how best to preserve the Nazi relics for the future, Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported. The study will be presented this spring.

The renovation project is expected to continue for several years. Austrian lawmakers are meeting at the Hofburg — the former imperial palace and current official residence of Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen — during this process.

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