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Hitler house to be turned into police station

Rebecca Staudenmaier
November 19, 2019

Austria's government has struggled for years to decide what to do with the house where Adolf Hitler was born, including considering tearing it down. The building will now house a police station to deter neo-Nazi tourism.

The house where Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau, Austria
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Maxppp

The building where Adolf Hitler spent the first few months of his life will now be turned into a regional police headquarters, the Austrian government announced Tuesday.

"The future use of the building by police will be an unmistakable signal that this building shall never serve to commemorate National Socialism," Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

Extremists have been traveling to the town to have their pictures taken in front of the house, news agency DPA reported, citing local witnesses.

Legal battle over Hitler house

Police won't move in right away, as the government is holding an EU-wide architectural competition to redesign the building and outer facade.

According to the Interior Ministry, the winner of the contest is expected to be announced in the first half of 2020.

Hitler's house in Austria

Tuesday's decision comes after a lengthy legal battle between the Austrian government and the previous owner of the house.

In early 2017, the government expropriated the building from its private owner, triggering a years-long legal battle over compensation.

The legal battle finished in August this year, with the government paying €810,000 ($897,600 at today's exchange rates).

From Nazi cult site to police station

Hitler, who led Nazi Germany into a global war that killed more than 50 million people, was born in an apartment on the top floor of the building in 1889. He lived there for a few months before his parents moved to Passau, Germany.

When the Nazis came to power, they turned the house in Braunau am Inn into a form of fascist center.

After World War II, the building was used as a library, a care center for the disabled and a technical school.

The Austrian government previously considered a range of proposals for the building, including possibly demolishing it.

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