The Austrian government has to pay five times more for Hitler’s birth home than it did two years ago, an Austrian district court has said.
The new valuation of the property, 1.508 million euro or $1.7 million, was made “taking into account the particular feature that the main building was the birthplace of Adolf Hitler,” local media reported. The government had paid only about $350,000 for the property in December 2016, after it passed an expropriation law specifically for that purpose.
The owner of the home, Gerlinde Pommer, has campaigned since then to be compensated in full for the loss of her property. Though Pommer had previously rented the house to the interior ministry since the 1970s, the building has been empty since 2011, after she refused to sell or allow renovations. (The Austrian ministry rented the property in order to prevent any use of the building by neo-Nazis.)
“She is relieved by the now-appropriate compensation,” Pommer’s attorney said. He added that the case is likely not closed, as the state has the option to appeal the ruling.
The Austrian government plans to use the building as the headquarters for a charity. Despite reports that the structure would be demolished, officials opted to remodel the property’s facade instead, to eliminate its appeal as a shrine for admirers of the Nazi dictator.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a small town by the Inn River which forms part of the Austrian-German border. The family moved to a different address in town just weeks after Hitler’s birth, and moved across the border to Passau, Germany three years later.
Though the dictator rarely visited the city later in life, it does feature in the opening line of his notorious autobiography, Mein Kampf: “I consider it a sign of my destiny that fate assigned me Braunau am Inn as my place of birth, for this small town lies on the border between two German states whose reunification is felt […] to be a life’s work.” [The Jewish Voice] — Kevin Sun