Austrian architects turned Hitler’s birthplace into a police station

He wrote Oscar Holland, CNN

Austria has unveiled plans to transform Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into a police station, after years of discussions and legal quarrel over a controversial place.

The three-story building at Braunau am Inn, near the German border, should be repurposed to help authorities hope it becomes a place of pilgrimage for Nazi sympathizers.

Hitler was born in an apartment building on April 20, 1889, while his father worked as a customs officer in the city. The family left Braunau am Inn, which was then part of Austro-Hungary when Hitler was three years old.

Plans to turn the site into a police station were first announced last November, when the Austrian interior ministry announced a tender for an EU-wide design to renovate it. Then they are clerks he told CNN in a statement that the move could help deter “National Socialist activity”.

The bull in which Adolf Hitler was born, painted in 2015. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images

Wining proposal, by the Austrian company Marte.Marte Architects, was presented at a news conference on Tuesday. Digital drawings show an extended roof with painted walls, with the current yellow façade replaced by white, in keeping with the adjoining buildings.

According to a government statement, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told a news conference on Tuesday that the city had become “the antithesis of everything (which Hitler) advocated.”

“You can recognize a country’s democratic culture by dealing with its history, and it took Austria a long time to face its own history,” he said. cited during the announcement. “Today we are opening a new chapter in dealing with our historical responsibility,” he added.

A discussion is ongoing

The fate of the building has long been a contentious issue in the city, where many want to tear down a painful reminder of Hitler’s short time there.

Braunau am Inn Mayor Johannes Waidbacher in 2012 told an Austrian newspaper The standard that the city was already “stigmatized.” The three years the Nazi dictator spent there “were certainly not in the best mood” of his life, Waidbacher said, adding: “We as a city of Braunau are therefore not ready to take responsibility for … World War II (pause out).”
Others lobbied for the place to be transformed into a community center called “House of responsibility, “where young people from all over the world could meet and learn about the past.

For decades, the controversial building belonged to Gerlinde Pommer, whose family owned the property before Hitler was born. The Austrian Ministry of the Interior began renting the place from her in 1972, handing it over to various charities. But the building has remained empty since the last passenger, a disability center, was vacated in 2011.

He ruled four years ago announced to make the structure collapse. He then proceeded to forcibly obtain from Pommer, and the Ministry of the Interior requested a “special legal authorization” to expropriate the property.

Legal disputes over confiscation and compensation ensued during which plans to demolish the building were thwarted.

The exterior of the building is shown in digital models by the Austrian architectural firm Marte.Marte, which won the tender to renovate the site.

The exterior of the building is shown in digital models by the Austrian architectural firm Marte.Marte, which won the tender to renovate the site. Credit: Marte.Marte

After securing the place, the Austrian government remained concerned that it might attract neo-Nazis and others sympathetic to Hitler’s ideology. Announcing the decision to transform it into a police station last year, then-Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said “future use of the house by the police will be an unmistakable signal that this building will never serve as a sign of National Socialism glory.”

Currently, the only physical reminder of the building’s past is a memorial stone in memory of the victims of fascism during World War II. Installed in 1989, just before the centenary of Hitler’s birth, the stone reads: “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. In memory of the millions dead.”

Renovation work on the building is expected to be completed in early 2023 and will cost about 5m euros ($ 5.6m).

Other buildings associated with Hitler’s rule were remodeled in the postwar period. The alpine retreat of the Nazi dictator, the Eagle’s Nest, is now restaurant and tourist destination, while the location of its Polish bunker headquarters, Wolf’s Lair, now contains a hotel.

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