Braunau. Since it was announced that Hitler's house will be put on the market next year, many media outlets worldwide have focused their attention on this topic. The town is being overwhelmed with suggestions and buying offers.
Foreign media such as the Corriere della Sera, the Daily Telegraph or the Hindustan Times and many other newspapers, magazines and online media outlets have been taking issue with the future of Hitler’s birthplace.
Most of them reported on the sale of the house for 2,2 million Euros and the town, which would like to purchase it, struggling with a shortage of money. Some media express concern over the threat of Nazis wanting to establish it as a memorial.
Definite suggestions for the future use have already landed on the mayor’s desk. The Italian human rights organization EveryOne wants to use the building for an exhibition of paintings by Jewish artists who suffered in the Holocaust. The collection of 200 paintings was established by EveryOne-president Roberto Malini. An Italian investor with Jewish roots has offered to buy the house, adapt and run it in cooperation with the town. As well as the exhibition, a part of the rooms could be dedicated as a ‘House of Responsibility’. “I believe that it is not the town alone which should carry responsibility for the past, but much more the duty of everyone.”
Meanwhile Malini’s offer to buy the house has been declined by the owner Gerlinde Pommer. “ It’s a pity, but we could also imagine renting the house or buying a building in the area.”, says Malini.
Great interest has also been shown by the German historian Anna Rosmus from Passau, who currently lives in the USA. Supported by the Innsbruck political scientist and organizer of the “contemporary history days” Andreas Maislinger, she plans to establish a “General-Meinhart-Museum”. It would be the first US Veterans’ museum in Austria. A suitable collection would therefore already exist. Florian Kotanko, historian and chairman of the “contemporary-history-days” is not content with this idea. “I think nothing of using the whole building as a museum, but I also don’t agree with using it entirely for social purposes”. He suggests rather a division of the building.
The exhibition area should document Hilter’s connections with Braunau, because there are still many questions remaining unanswered. “For example, it is still not resolved whether Hitler really held a speech in Braunau in 1920.” Furthermore, material exists that includes photographs and plans for the rebuilding of Braunau. Florian Kotanko is currently researching these issues.
translated by Martin Craggs