The conversion of Adolf Hitler’s birthplace in Austria into a police station, intended to make it undesirable as a place of pilgrimage for those who exalt the Nazi leader, began on Monday.
In late 2019, the destiny of the structure in Braunau am Inn, a town on the Austrian-German border, was decided.
There will be a police station, a district police office, and a section of the security academy where police officers will get human rights instruction. Construction work on the site began on Monday with the installation of fencing, and the police are anticipated to move in at the beginning of 2026.
The renovation endeavor was preceded by a protracted dispute about who owned the house that lasted years.
When the building’s owner refused to sell it, the government had every right to seize it, according to Austria’s highest court, whose decision was made in 2017.
It was dropped as a possibility that it would be destroyed. Since 1972, the building has been leased by Austria’s Interior Ministry, which also sublet it to a number of philanthropic groups.
After an adult care facility for those with disabilities left in 2011, it remained vacant. “For freedom, democracy, and liberty,” reads a memorial stone. Fascism is never again.
The sign that reads “Millions of dead remind us” will continue to stand outside the house.
The Austrian government claims that the police should occupy the space since they are the defenders of civil liberties. But the plan has come under fire. The Interior Ministry’s goal of eliminating the building’s “recognition factor” through refurbishment, according to historian Florian Kotanko, “is impossible to accomplish.”
Kotanko lamented that “there is a total lack of historical contextualization.” “Demystification should be a key part,” he continued, supporting the idea of displaying an exhibition about individuals who protected Jews under Nazi authority inside the structure.