The Austrian government is planning to raise to the ground the house where Adolf Hitler was born in a bid to stop neo-Nazis flocking to the site in pilgrimage.
Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, which is now in Austria, as one of six children born to Alois Hitler and Klara Polzyl. When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau in Germany.
However, even though he is widely cited as one of the world’s most hated historical figures, the current owner of the property where he was born has refused the Austrian government’s many attempts to buy his home.
Having had enough of years of being told ‘no,’ the government is now pressing ahead with plans to seize the property.
The Interior Ministry wants to stop the structure from providing a magnet to hero-worshipping neo-Nazis.
A ministry spokesman said: “Only the foundations will remain and upon them government offices or a community center will be erected”. The aim is take away any association with the Nazi leader from the site.
There is no mention at all of Hitler on a memorial plaque outside the house. Rather, it says: “For Peace, Freedom and Democracy,” adding “Never Again Fascism”.
Plans to knock down the three-story property have widespread support, particularly from the Jewish community and historians who have been acting as government advisors.
However some wanted the building to remain, but to become a refugee centre or a museum about the liberation of Austria from oppressive Nazi rule.
It is not known why the owner of the building, widely believed to be a local resident called Gerlinde Pommer, has refused to give permission for it to be demolished.
Her family is said to have owned the house since the year of Hitler’s birth, but the Austrian government has rented it from her since the 1970s, using it as a respite centre for people who have special needs.
But, five years ago, that long-standing deal came to an end when Ms Pommer refused to give government officials the permission they needed to carry out the renovations which were necessary to ensure the building remained fit for purpose.
Ms Pommer is believed to be in her mid 60s and very reclusive. The reasons behind her desire to keep the building remain unclear.