Debate is continuing over the fate of the ‘Hitler Birthplace’ in Austria, with yet another potential use for the controversial house having been mooted by the local government, this time proposing a ‘House of Responsibility’ museum, potentially saving the location from demolition.
The large, €2.2 million town-house at Salzburger Vorstadt, Braunau was the subject of a ‘birthplace summit’ in which Braunau councillors debated the long contested future use of the building in May. It is now reported by TheLocal.de they have settled on a proposal by a local historian to turn it into a museum and cultural centre focussing on war crimes committed by the Third Reich.
While legislators remained unable to agree, the building has stood empty at public expense for two years. Although the house is privately owned by a local, the Austrian government is determined to prevent it being inhabited by neo-Nazis and rents the building for €4,000 a month to keep it empty or rented to vetted groups, in a situation that has prevailed for decades.
This is just the latest development in the post-war history of a building that was an important cultural memorial for the Nazi party, but has proven to be an area of contention for the post-war authorities. It was reported in May that a decision had been reached to turn it into a language school for newly arrived immigrants, however this plan now appears to have fallen by the wayside.
More overtly political and educational uses such as a museum or immigrant receiving centre have been suggested in response to a suggestion by the Braunau mayor to turn the building into luxury flats in an attempt to ‘destigmatise’ the town. That the ‘Hitler birth-house’ might become an Austrian des-res so enraged one Putin-supporting member of Russian Parliament he offered to buy the house himself, just so he could demolish it.
In the past the building has also been a tavern, boarding house, petrol station, bank, library, and most recently a workhouse for the mentally handicapped. The final decision on it’s future will come later in the year with the Austrian national government.