Work to transform Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into a police station will begin in October, the Austrian government announced on Monday in a controversial case that has come under fire for years.
“The start of work is scheduled for October 2,” a spokesman for the Interior Ministry told AFP.
“After the architectural renovation, a police station and a training center for human rights officers will be installed in this building with a heavy past,” according to a recent press release.
It was decided not to make it a place of memory in order to prevent the place where Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 and where he lived his early years from becoming a place of neo-Nazi pilgrimage.
The objective is to “sustainably break the cult dedicated to him by extremist circles”, explained a commission of experts set up in 2016 by the government.
A demolition was also excluded, Austria having to “confront its past”, in the opinion of historians.
The government fought a long legal battle to secure ownership of this house located in the center of Braunau-am-Inn (north), on the German border.
The 800 square meter building will notably be enhanced by a new roof and undergo an expansion.
The schedule has been delayed and the cost of the work is now estimated at 20 million euros financed by the State, against five initially.
The new occupants should move in in 2026, according to the ministry, which said it was “maintaining its project” despite the emergence of new criticism.
The director of a documentary which will be released at the end of August, Günter Schwaiger, has indeed called on the authorities to abandon this conversion into a police station.
This would amount to “fulfilling Hitler’s own wish” for administrative use of the premises, as formulated in a local newspaper article published in May 1939, he told a conference on Monday. press in Vienna.
Austria, annexed by Germany in 1938, has long had a complex relationship with its past.
After the Second World War, the Alpine country was presented as “the first victim of Nazism” and the complicity of many Austrians in the crimes of the Third Reich was denied.
A critical eye began to be exercised in the mid-1980s.