Austrian high court rules government had authority to seize home where Adolf Hitler was born


(JTA) – Austria’s highest court ruled that the country’s government had “full authority” to  dispossess the home where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born.

The government decision in December 2016 followed years of the German border town of Braunau and later the national government trying to purchase the home from its owners  in an attempt to prevent the site from becoming a shrine to the neo-Nazi community.

The Austrian Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that the government’s seizure of the home ““was in the public interest, proportionate, and not without compensation and is thus not unconstitutional,” the Associated Press reported.

The building at 15 Salzburger Vorstadt St. is listed as a historical landmark, though Hitler’s name does not appear on it.  Razing the building would negate the country’s Nazi past, an expert commission has said.

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Gerlinde Pommer’s family has owned the house where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, for more than a century. The town has tried for decades to purchase the building.

The ministry had rented the home for decades and sublet it to charitable organizations. The house, which draws neo-Nazi visitors, especially on the anniversary of Hitler’s birth, has stood empty since 2011 after the owner refused to authorize needed renovations.

Pommer had challenged the seizure of the home,  saying the purchase offers were too low, according to the AP. She can now appeal the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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