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Austria to seize birthplace of Adolf Hitler

By Marilyn Malara
Adolf Hitler attending a Nazi party rally in Nuremberg, Germany, circa 1928. Austria is reportedly pushing to seize the birthplace of the former Nazi leader in order to discourage Neo-Nazis from using it as a rally piont. File Photo by NARA/UPI
Adolf Hitler attending a Nazi party rally in Nuremberg, Germany, circa 1928. Austria is reportedly pushing to seize the birthplace of the former Nazi leader in order to discourage Neo-Nazis from using it as a rally piont. File Photo by NARA/UPI

VIENNA, April 9 (UPI) -- Austria is planning to draft a law allowing the state to seize the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, about 71 years since the end of World War II.

The proposal to take ownership of the unmarked building is still being negotiated, New York Times reported, but is expected to head to Parliament by this summer.

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Part of the decision to push for government seizure of the property is reportedly due to the occasional reoccurrence of Neo-Nazis who use the it as a focal point. Some fear if left alone, the property may become a shrine to the leader, who was the cause of millions of deaths during the Holocaust.

"We have seen in recent years that expropriation is the only way to prevent the house being used for the purposes of Nazi revivalism," Karl-Heinz Grundböck, an interior ministry spokesman told a local newspaper.

Other reasons stem from an ongoing dispute between the building's owner and Austrian government regarding the building's renovation, according to the BBC.

Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria in April 1889 in an apartment in the higher levels of the building, the bottom floor of which was then a tavern. He and his family moved to Germany when he was three years old.

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The deteriorating building is now owned by a descendent of the original owners, Gerlinde Pommer. The Austrian government has leased the building since 1972 to keep Neo-Nazis from occupying the space.

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The building is mostly unremarkable in appearance but does don a single stone sign, a marble slab bearing an inscription translated as "For Peace, Freedom and Democracy/Never Again Fascism/Millions of Dead Warn."

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