Hitler museum planned for Austrian building where dictator was born
Formerly a pub, the building in Braunau-Am-Inn is a site of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis who gather outside it on Hitler's birthday every year.
The building in which Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a museum memorializing the crimes and victims of the German dictator, under a plan currently being discussed by Austrian authorities.
The former pub Gasthaus zur Pommer in the small town of Braunau-Am-Inn has been empty for three years, according to an article in the London-based Mail Online. The local municipality pays the owners 4,000 euros a month to prevent it from falling into the hands of neo-Nazis.
When Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, the building was an inn. Alois and Klara Hitler moved out of the inn shortly after Adolf's birth, but the building has remained a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis from across Europe.
Since the end of World War II, the building has been variously a bank, workshop, library, school and home for the disabled
Now, the Austrian interior ministry is supporting a private initiative by historian Andreas Maislinger to renovate the former pub into a "House of Responsibility."
Backing the Maislinger project is Oscar winning, Jewish-born Hollywood producer Branko Lustig, who has pledged big money from movie industry players for the museum.
Other mooted plans for the building, which included demolition and turning it into luxury flats, have failed to gain traction. "This combines to make it increasingly difficult for opponents to raise further objections against the idea of a museum," wrote German magazine Bild.
Supporters of the museum hope that it will slowly strip the house of its appeal for extremists who come every year on Hitler's birthday to worship outside the building. This year, a remembrance stone quarried from the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where thousands were killed, was defaced with paint.
"The house will only lose its appeal for such people when it stands as a clear and just symbol against Nazism," said Maislinger.
Mayor Johanne Waidbacher said: 'It is a difficult subject. But the idea in principle of a House of Responsibility is, in itself, not a bad one.'
The building was bought by Nazi party secretary Martin Bormann after the 1938 Anschluss, in which Austria was absorbed into Greater Germany and converted into a Nazi cultural center. Hitler himself visited only once while in power.
The only remaining Nazi-era relic is an iron gate outside the building bearing Bormann's initials.
A final decision on what to do with the building is expected within weeks.
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