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Former Hitler house owner seeking €1.5M

December 28, 2018

The previous owner of Adolf Hitler's birth home in Braunau am Inn is seeking more than a million euros in compensation payment for the building. Austria seized the property last year and intends to tear it down.

The house where Adolf Hitler was born is seen in Braunau am Inn
Image: picture alliance/AA/E. Vlasopoulos

A lawyer representing the former owner of Adolf Hitler's birth home, Gerlinde Pommer, is seeking a higher compensation payout after the property was seized in 2017.

"We have a very clear goal of €1.5 million [$1.7 million]," said Salzburg lawyer Gerhard Lebitsch.

The Austrian state ordered the compulsory purchase of the three-story building and car park after several failed attempts to buy it from Pommer. Pommer had initially challenged the seizure, saying it was unconstitutional, but a court ruled in the state's favor.

The state has so far paid the former owner €310,000, but an appraiser recently valued the building at between €800,000 and €1.5 million. Lebitsch argues the payout to date is far too low.

"The car park is the only parking spot in the downtown area that's big enough to merit mentioning," he said.

A court spokesman said a decision would likely come in January.

Hitler's birth home

Hitler's family rented a top-floor apartment in the building, located in the Austrian town of Braunau am Inn bordering Germany, for a few years around of the time of his birth in 1889. The family moved to Passau, just on the other side of the Austrian-German border, when he was 3 years old.

The property was bought by Martin Bormann, a close aide of Hitler, in 1938 and was placed under state protection. Austria returned the estate to its original owners after the war.

The government had leased the building for decades, but Pommer terminated the rental agreement in 2011 when the government wanted to renovate the property to make it more wheelchair accessible.

Hitler's birth home has attracted neo-Nazis and other extremists for years, with several extremists making the trip to Braunau to take a picture in front of the building.

In 2016, then Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said the building would be torn down to its foundation and new building would be erected. Critics have said, however, that the state would be sweeping away its uncomfortable connection with the Third Reich.

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dv/cmk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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