Austria's Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn announced Tuesday that the country will turn the birthplace of Adolf Hitler into a police station in the hopes of preventing it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Peschorn said in a statement.
Neo-Nazis have reportedly long frequented the house in downtown Braunau am Inn, turning it into a pilgrimage site of sorts. The government has tried to step in and stop that from happening for quite a while, but the building's owner had refused sell it even though the interior ministry had taken over the main lease in 1972. The owner also refused to renovate the building, which meant it was difficult to rent to tenants who would turn it into an administrative, educational, or social services building as required by the government. So it remained challenging to prevent Hitler's admirers from flocking to it, even as support for Nazism dwindled. But the government seized the building in 2017, and will now hold a redesign competition for architects that will begin this month as the building transitions into the hands of law enforcement.
The timing of the announcement is not insignificant, as some far-right parties have continued to make gains in Europe. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell