The former pub in Braunau am Inn has been empty for the last three years. Neo-Nazis flock to the site paying homage to Hitler who was born there. A meeting has now been held in the town to discuss turning it into a 'House of Responsibility' to strip it of its allure for the far-right.
Authorities in Austria are poised to greenlight a plan to turn the former pub where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born into a ‘House of Responsibility’ museum to his crimes.
The former pub Gasthaus zum Pommer, on Salzburger Vorstadt street, in Braunau am Inn, has been empty for three years. On Friday a meeting was held in the town to discuss the private venture to strip it of its allure for the far-right. Over the years since the end of the war the building, where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, has served as a bank, workshop, library, school and as a home for the disabled.
Authorities in Austria are poised to greenlight a plan to turn the house where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born into a ‘House of Responsibility’ museum to his crimes. A stone stands outside the house in which Hitler was born, with the inscription ‘For peace, freedom and democracy, never again fascism, millions of dead are a warning’. Since 2011 Braunau has paid the owners, who have had the property since 1912, £3,250-a-month to keep it empty as plans were discussed about what to do with it. Neo Nazis from across Europe continue to flock to it, paying homage to their evil messiah who moved out of the premises with father Alois and mother Klara shortly after birth. Now the Austrian interior ministry in Vienna has got behind the project of historian Andreas Maislinger to renovate the former pub into a ‘House of Responsibility.’
Oscar winning Jewish-born producer Branko Lustig is a heavyweight name backing the Maislinger scheme and has pledged big money from movie industry players in Hollywood for the museum plan. Other mooted projects, such as demolition or turning it into luxury flats, failed to gain traction. BILD newspaper in Germany commented: ‘This combines to make it increasingly difficult for opponents to raise further objections against the idea of a museum.’ Maislinger was always against the idea of turning the house into apartments and said: ‘The desire not to want to have anything to do with Hitler is fully understandable. But it wouldn’t work, turning it in to a property. What would happen if a child lives in the house and his right-wing parents decide to call him Adolf?’
Supporters of the remembrance project hope that it will slowly strip the house of its appeal for extremists who come every year on Hitler’s birthday to worship outside. This year a remembrance stone quarried from the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where thousands were killed, was defaced with paint. Maislinger added: ‘The house will only lose its appeal for such people when it stands as a clear and just symbol against Nazism.’
Maislinger added: ‘The house will only lose its appeal for such people when it stands as a clear and just symbol against Nazism.’
Mayor Johannes Waidbacher said: ‘It is a difficult subject. But the idea in principle of a House of Responsibility is, in itself, not a bad one.’ After the 1938 Anschluss, when Hitler absorbed Austria into Greater Germany, the house was bought by Martin Bormann and became a Nazi ‘cultural centre.’ Anyone who wished to progress through party ranks was obliged to pay at least one visit there to pay homage to the leader. Before the end of WW2 fanatical Nazis tried and failed to demolish the building but it fell into American hands. Gerlinde Pommer’s family bought the house in 1912 and, in a deal which gives her £4,000-a-month rent, she leases it back to Braunau. That way the city fathers made sure no questionable – ie Nazi – groups got their hands on it. The only Nazi-era relic is on an iron gate outside, the initials MB for Hitler’s party secretary Martin Bormann. Juergen Schmidt, a local, said: ‘It is about time we got rid of this eyesore and this shame. Making it into a place of memory for the victims of Nazism is a good idea.’ A decision on what to do with it is expected within weeks.