The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a police station, Austria’s interior minister has announced, after years of debate over how best to prevent it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.
Having recently carried out a compulsory purchase of the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the border with Germany, Austria will invite architects to submit plans for a redesign of the building. It will house the local police force’s offices, the interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The house’s future use by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will never again evoke the memory of National Socialism,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn, who serves in a provisional government of civil servants, said in the statement.
Although Hitler only spent a short time at the property, it continues to draw Nazi sympathisers from around the world. Every year, on Hitler’s birthday, anti-fascist protesters organise a rally outside the building.
Architects from across the European Union will be invited to submit plans for the building’s redesign this month and a jury of experts and public officials will pick the winning design in the first half of next year, the interior ministry said.
Although Hitler was born in Braunau in 1889, Austria argued for decades that it was the first victim of National Socialism, having been annexed by Hitler’s Germany in 1938.
Recent governments have, however, recognised that Austrians were also perpetrators of Nazi crimes and that there was little resistance to Hitler’s rule.
Under his rule from 1933-1945, Nazi Germany began World War II and unleashed a genocide known as the Holocaust that resulted in the deaths of some six million Jews.