Work started last week to turn Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into a police station – but locals in Braunau am Inn are unhappy with the decision.
That’s according to Irish Times Berlin Correspondent Derek Scally, who said the house has had a complicated history since Hitler was born there in 1889.
“It's been used for very many things,” he told Moncrieff.
“In the Hitler era, it was bought up by the National Socialist Party, but in the postwar years it was returned to its original owners.
“It was then leased to the Austrian state and local authorities, and it was used partly as a school, as a library, as a workshop for people with learning difficulties.
“[In 2011], they were all thrown out and the original owner just sat there with a vacant building and that started to make people in the area nervous.”
The federal government in Vienna seized the building in 2016 and made the decision to convert the house into a police station.
'Decision made over their heads'
Mr Scally explained many locals believe turning Hitler’s birthplace into a police station is inappropriate, as Austrian police “were working hand in glove with the Nazis” in WWII.
“They would much prefer some sort of education facility, some sort of museum or even just return it as a training facility,” he said.
“It seems that the locals are quite unhappy that this has been decided over their heads.”
Mr Scally said the Austrian Government are likely trying to “kill two birds with one stone” as Braunau am Inn required new police facilities and many did not want the building destroyed as it is a “historic building”.
“It would leave a gap in the street [if it was destroyed],” he said.
'An unremarkable two-storey'
Mr Scally said Hitler's birthplace is “an unremarkable two-storey", only made unique by a large stone plaque commemorating the victims of World War II and condemning fascism.
“There's nothing actually saying Hitler was born here, but everyone in Braunau am Inn knows very well where he was born,” he said.
“The worry was with the spread of the Internet, people would be coming to the town, visiting it as a sort of fascist pilgrimage.
“People would stop by – it's probably most the infamous thing in the town.
“It’s a known issue, ‘Third Reich Tourism’, but whether they’re all neo-Nazis doing it, I would doubt.”
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Main image: A plaque in front of Adolf Hitler's place of birth in Braunau am Inn. Image: Lino Mirgeler/dpa/Alamy Live News