Adolf Hitler’s birthplace will be completely transformed to stop it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, the Austrian government has announced.
This flip-flop decision – a day earlier interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka said the government would tear down the three-storey structure in Braunau am Inn, leaving only its foundations – means the former inn will undergo an extensive facelift so that it is unrecognisable from its current form.
The directive comes in response to a government-appointed commission’s comments that razing the structure would ‘come close to a denial of the Nazi history in Austria’.
Instead, architects will now be invited to submit proposals to convert the 17th-century building.
The decision is the latest twist in the ongoing saga of what to do with the property: privately owned by Gerlinde Pommer, it has been rented to the Austrian government since 1972 and was used as a disabled centre.
According to the BBC, Pommer has refused repeated attempts by the government to buy the structure – which has been vacant since 2010 – and he has also blocked proposals to refurbish the site. Now, the government is in the process of legally seizing the property.
Hitler was born in a rented apartment on the top floor of the former inn in 20 April 1889, and only lived at the address for a few weeks before moving to other accommodation in Braunau.