Austria's top court upholds compulsory purchase of Hitler's birthplace

The government had seized the three-floor house in Braunau am Inn, north of Salzburg, to prevent it becoming a site of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis at the beginning of the year.

By REUTERS
July 2, 2017 17:29
1 minute read.
Braunau Hitler

The house in which Adolf Hitler was born is seen in the northern Austrian city of Braunau am Inn September 24, 2012. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Austria's top court on Friday (June 30) upheld a law that allowed the compulsory purchase of the house in which Adolf Hitler was born, saying it was necessary to stop the property being used to glorify Nazi ideology.

Gerlinde Pommer-Angloher, the former owner of the house, had filed a legal challenge to the constitutional court in January, saying the government's expropriation of the three-storey house in Braunau am Inn on Austria's border with Germany was unconstitutional.

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The government had seized the three-floor house in Braunau am Inn, north of Salzburg, to prevent it becoming a site of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis at the beginning of the year after Pommer-Angloher had turned down offers by the state to buy it. The owner had been blocking offers to sell or alter the house.

The former owner, Gerlinde Pommer-Angloher, then legally challenged the expropriation claiming that there were other ways to free it of the Nazi symbolism. Austria's government said it took the only way to end the long-lasting dispute.

The property now owned by the government comprises 1,500 square metres whereas the building itself had a building area of around 500 square metres, her lawyer said.

Pommer-Angloher's grandparents bought the house in 1913 but were forced to sell it in 1938. After the war, her mother bought it back.

Adolf Hitler, who provoked a global war that cost more than 50 million lives, was born in the house in 1889.

The Interior Ministry had been renting the building near the border with Germany since 1972.

But due to the disputes it has remained empty in recent years.

Austria plans to sustainable overhaul the house and convert it into a place for people with learning difficulties to break its historic connection to the Hitler ideology.

The interior ministry plans to launch an architecture competition within days.


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