The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be torn down and replaced with a new building that has no association with Hitler, Austria’s government has announced, as it moves to eliminate the property’s significance for neo-Nazis as a place of pilgrimage.
The plan still has to be formalised in legislation and voted on in parliament. But the interior ministry said on Monday that demolition had been recommended by a government-appointed commission.
With the Social Democratic party and centrist People’s party in the majority, and most opposition parties expected to support the plan, its passage was likely to be no more than a formality.
The interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, said that “a thorough architectural remodelling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building”.
Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck said that meant, except for its foundations, nothing would be left of the house in the western town of Braunau and that a new structure would be erected in its place.
A ministry statement quoted Sobotka saying he wanted to ensure that anyassociation with Hitler was eliminated at the site, adding that he could conceive of it being repurposed to house either government or social agency offices.
The statement said the commission had recommended against leaving the site empty, which could be interpreted as an attempted “denial of Austrian history”.
The government this year launched formal legal procedures to dispossess the home’s owner after she had repeatedly refused to sell the building or to allow renovations that would reduce its symbolic impact as Hitler’s birthplace and its draw to his admirers.
The statement said the interior ministry planned to finalise a draft law making the house state property before putting it to a vote in parliament by the end of the year.