Austria plans to convert or demolish house Hitler was born in

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Austria plans to convert and possibly tear down the house Hitler was born in to prevent it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

Austria had already ordered the compulsory purchase of the building in Braunau am Inn, a town on the border with Germany where Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.

Now a committee of experts including historians, officials and the head of Austria's main Jewish organization has recommended that a "thorough architectural rearrangement" be carried out, and Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka intends to follow their suggestion, a spokesman for the minister said.

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Author Anna Rosmus, an anti-semitism tracker whose life was depicted in the movie The Nasty Girl, posing on railroad track in front of house where Adolf Hilter lived at the age of 5. (Photo by Terry Smith/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Flowers are pictured in front of the house in which Adolf Hitler was born in the northern Austrian city of Braunau am Inn September 24, 2012. A suggestion to turn the Austrian house where Adolf Hitler was born into normal residential space has triggered a debate about how best to use an empty property still laden with historic baggage decades after World War Two ended. The man who became Nazi dictator was born in the house in Braunau on the Inn, a town near Salzburg on the German border, in April 1889. His family lived there only three years, but his link to the three-storey building has left an indelible mark. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler (AUSTRIA - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS)
NUREMBERG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04: A watercolor painting signed A Hitler, is on display at an auction house on February 4, 2016 in Nuremberg, Germany. A total of 29 watercolors and drawings attributed to the Adolf Hitler, will be auctioned off at the Weidler auction house on February 6, 2016. PHOTOGRAPH BY DPA / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com (Photo credit should read Picture-Alliance / Barcroft Medi / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) View of the street with the birth house of Adolf Hitler - Photographer: Wolff & Tritschler- 16/1939Vintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by Wolff & Tritschler/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
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Austrian newspaper Die Presse, which first reported the decision, said the house would be torn down.

"A new building will be erected," Die Presse quoted Sobotka as saying. "The house will then be used by the community either for charitable or official purposes."

A spokesman for Sobotka said that might involve tearing the building down.

"A demolition is one possibility," the spokesman said, adding that the aim was for the building to "not be recognizable". It should also not include empty spaces, he said.

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Austria, which was annexed by Hitler's Germany in 1938, has confronted its Nazi past far less directly than its larger neighbor, and its official line for decades was that it was that its people were the first victims of Nazism.

Though it has long abandoned that stance, critics are likely to see this as a case of an uncomfortable episode of history being swept away without trace.

"We have a functioning culture of memory, for example at the Mauthausen concentration camp," Sobotka told Die Presse when asked if Austria was missing an opportunity to confront its Nazi past. He also cited museums in Vienna and nearby St. Poelten.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Alison Williams)

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