The house and surrounding area in Austria’s Braunau Am Inn, where German dictator and former chancellor Adolf Hitler was born, will be turned into a police station which will house up to 50 officers. A report by Reuters said that reporters were seen around the construction site.
The decision comes after years of debate over how best to prevent the place from becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.
“We know that the Hitler family lived here in the 19th century. On the ground floor there was a restaurant and the floors above contained rooms which were rented out to tourists or possibly as mini apartments, that’s not entirely known because only few documents exist. It is also not possible to say exactly where the Hitler family lived, whether it was on the first or second floor. There are also theories that they might have lived in the rear building,” Markus Schmoll, Austrian interior ministry representative, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Hitler was born in Braunau in 1889 and Austria has argued for decades that it was the first victim of National Socialism, a political ideology promoted by Adolf Hitler. Austria was annexed by Hitler’s Germany in 1938, shortly after Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka Nazi Party, came into power.
“We only know that from 1936, following a redecoration around the turn of the century, the restaurant owner set up a “Fuehrer” (Hitler) memorial room which led to public attention through the media. In 1938, the NSDAP (Nazi party) bought the building. The NSDAP then converted the building. They tore down the brewery (points) in the rear building and turned the restaurant into a public library. They also converted the façade,” Schmoll further added.
Austrian governments in recent years have recognised that Austrians were also perpetrators of Nazi crimes and that there was little resistance to Hitler’s rule. Austrian town Braunau made headlines when it revoked the Nazi dictator’s honorary citizenship in 2011 but the perpetrator of the Holocaust was never actually awarded one.
“It’s a historical fact that Hitler was born in our city of Braunau and it will stay that way and remain in Braunau’s history books forever. I believe the city will never be able to totally avoid that,” Braunau mayor Johannes Waidbacher said.
The town council at the time voted unanimously to strip Hitler of any honours he may have received and which did not expire automatically when he died by his own hand in a Berlin bunker in 1945 when the Soviets pushed back Germany.