Austria's highest court allows seizing of Hitler's childhood house
Ending a long-running legal fight for Adolf Hitler's childhood house, the Constitutional Court of Austria upheld a 2016 law, ruling the state was right to seize the property. It said the "compulsory purchase" of the property was necessary to prohibit the promotion of Nazi ideology. Know more about how the Nazi dictator's childhood home gave Austria a headache.
Constitutional Court President Gerhart Holzinger's statement
"As visits to this property have been used by extreme right-wing groups and individuals for the glorification of the constitutionally scorned Nazi ideology, the state is obliged to ensure itself that this criminal abuse cannot develop."
Adolf Hilter's childhood house
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 at Salzburger Vorstadt 15, in Braunau am Inn, Upper Austria. Hitler's parents had rented some rooms in the building, which was a guesthouse while his father was working as a minor customs officer near the Austrian-German border. Adolf Hitler had stayed there for three years after his birth, after which they shifted to Passau, following his father's transfer.
House owner refuses to grant permission for renovation
Gerlinde Pommer's family owned the house since the beginning. In the 1970s the house was leased by the Austrian Government. In 2011, the agreement between the Government and owner ended due to dispute, as Pommer refused to give permission for a much-required renovation. The dispute propelled from the owner's refusal to allow the rebuilding of rooms and bathrooms or elevator installation in the house.
Various proposals put forward for using the house
Several proposals had been put forward by the Government and people on how the house must be used after seizing. Proposals included an adult education centre, an anti-Nazi centre to confront the Nazi past, a museum, an immigrant centre, a language centre, or making the three-storied building into flats. Some had even called for demolition and offered to buy the house to demolish it.
Neo-Nazi sympathizers frequently visit the house
Officials stated that the house had become a place of pilgrimage for Nazi sympathizers and a destination for Nazi tourists. Despite the memorial stone at the house reading: "Never again Fascism. In memory of millions of dead," neo-Nazis still visit the place, especially on Hitler's birth-anniversary. Austrian Government didn't reveal any plans on what to do with the house, but, decided to seize it.
Austrian Interior Ministry to start compensation negotiations
The Interior Ministry will begin negotiations about the compensation payment for the property with the owner Pommer-Angloher on 26 July. Pommer's lawyer said the previous offer of €300,000 wasn't acceptable to her. After Pommer turned down the offers made by the state for the building, the government seized it in Jan'17 to stop it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
Austrian Parliament passes law to seize property
On 15 Dec'16, the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament passed a law that allowed the authorities to "expropriate" Adolf Hitler's childhood house. In Jan'17, Pommer reportedly approached the high court to challenge the state's right to seize her property.