hitler’s childhood home in austria to become human rights training centre
The house in the northwestern town of Braunau am Inn where Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 will be converted into a human rights training centre, Austria’s Interior Ministry announced Wednesday. Plans for the building to accommodate the facility, in addition to a new police station, have been in the works since 2019.
The decision to convert the property was made based on the recommendations of an interdisciplinary expert commission which was concerned with the building’s “mythical appeal to extremist circles”, the ministry said in a statement.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, historian Oliver Rathkolb, a professor at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna, highlighted the need to give the place a new purpose while facing the tragic past of the nation.
Born in an apartment in the building on April 20, Hitler lived there until his family departed when he turned three. The building belonged to Gerlinde Pommer for decades until the Interior Ministry started renting it from her in 1972, specifically to curb far-right tourism.
Despite the figure living in the space for quite a short duration, the building became a shrine to Hitler during the Nazi rule. Throughout his rule, Nazi enthusiasts flocked to the house in major tourism waves.
Although the space soon started serving as a home to different charities, it has been empty since 2011 when the tenant, a disability centre, chose to vacate. The building was even on the verge of getting demolished in 2016.
After securing the site, the Austrian government remained concerned it might attract neo-Nazis and other Hitler sympathizers. After deciding to transform the property into a new police station in 2019, officials believed the space could help serve an even bigger purpose.
According to a recent statement from the commission member Hermann Feiner, the former head of construction and real estate projects at the Ministry of the Interior, the building “will be an office for the largest human rights organisation in Austria – the police – and it will also be a center for training in this fundamentally important topic.”
The conversion will cost an estimated $21.5 million. While the work is expected to be completed in 2025, the police could get to move in the following year.