Austrian officials have announced that Adolf Hitler’s birth house in Braunau am Inn, Austria will be renovated and turned into a police station. The authorities decided to turn the house into a law enforcement hub in a bid to deter neo-Nazi pilgrims. Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement, “The future use of the house by the police should set an unmistakable sign that this building is permanently removed from memory of Nazism.”
A redesign competition for the building’s new purpose will begin this month, with work on the building to start next year. Architects from across the European Union are eligible to participate. The Interior Ministry said the winner will be announced in 2020. Police will begin occupying the building following the renovation.
Braunau am Inn is a small medieval town on the northern border with Germany. Hitler was born in a yellow, three-story home in the downtown area of the town on April 20, 1889 but spent only a short time at the property. During World War II, it was used as an art gallery and library. It has also been used as a bank, a school, and a center for people with special needs over the years. A memorial stone sits outside the building that is inscribed with the words “For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. Millions dead are a warning.”
The building has caused some issues for authorities in the past seven decades. The building continues to lure Nazi sympathizers from around the world, especially on Hitler’s birthday. Anti-fascist protesters also rally outside the building each year on his birthday. While the numbers for the groups have dwindled recently, the house remains under constant surveillance for potential problems. The Interior Ministry wanted to tear the house down at one point, but relented under pushback from politicians and historians.