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Hitler's house to become migrant centre?

Published: 14 May 2014 11:02 GMT+02:00

The Renaissance-era structure, located near the central square of the picturesque town of Braunau in Upper Austria, is considered prime real estate. 

At a recent 'Birthplace Summit', held at the Interior Ministry in early May, the house's current owner and representatives from Braunau met with Austria's Interior Ministry to discuss the fate of the controversial building.

For decades however, the shadow of Adolf Hitler - its most infamous son - has hung over the former guest house, creating a constant headache for Braunau's administration.

Born on April 20th, 1889, Hitler lived at Salzburger Vorstadt 15 until he was three.

In 1938, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Martin Bormann, Hitler's private secretary, purchased the house on behalf of the Nazi Party for four times its market value, with plans to turn it into a shrine to the dictator.

Currently owned by a retired local woman who refuses to reveal her identity, the building has been rented by the Austrian Interior Ministry since 1972.

While the Interior Ministry has carefully vetted tenants to ensure no Hitler-admirers can occupy the premises, the owner has refused to let Braunau officials hang a plaque warning of the evils of fascism.

Until now, the building has been used as a library, bank, technical high school and most recently as a workshop for the mentally handicapped.

A previous proposal to convert the house into a living space sparked fears the building may fill with Hitler worshippers. Suggestions to create an anti-Nazi memorial have also been rejected.

After remaining empty for the past two years, it seems the owner may now be ready to agree to a new plan for the dilapidated house - as an integration office and language school for migrants, according to a report in Der Standard newspaper. 

After some 'difficult' discussions, representatives from Braunau and the Interior Ministry are optimistic that a solution will soon be reached.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

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