Austria mulls law to seize Hitler birthplace
The Austrian interior ministry announced on Saturday that it is considering expropriation of a house that was Hitler's birthplace, to avoid its exploitation by Nazi sympathizers.
The house, which is currently in private ownership, has long been a thorn in the side of the Austrian government, as controversy has raged among proponents for alternative uses of the building.
Each of the proposals, including turning the building into a school or a reception center for refugees, have fallen at the legal hurdle, as the house's owner has refused each of the options.
Now the Interior Ministry has mooted expropriation of the house, which will require lawmakers to legislate a solution, forcing the owner to sell the house to the state for a fair price.
According to Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, “We are currently examining the creation of a law, which would force a change of ownership and pass the property to the Republic of Austria.”
“We have come to the conclusion over the past few years that expropriation is the only way to avoid the building being used for the purposes of Nazi sympathizers," he said.
The approximately 800 square metre property currently costs the state €4,800 a month. The tenancy agreement states that it may not be used as a museum, or in any historical context, and that the owner must consent to any new tenant.