Austrian court orders government to pay owner of the house where Nazi leader was born $1.7 million over a compulsory-purchase row
An Austrian court has ordered the government to pay the owner of the house where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) over a compulsory-purchase row, the BBC reported on Thursday.
Ried im Innkreis district court said the state must substantially increase the amount it paid for the house in nearby Braunau am Inn, “taking into account the particular feature that the main building was the birthplace of Adolf Hitler”, the local Oberösterreichische Nachrichten newspaper reported.
The government took control of the building in December of 2016, after MPs approved an expropriation law specifically aimed at the property.
The move came after years of wrangling with the owner of the home, Gerlinde Pommer, who had been renting the house to the interior ministry since the 1970s and refused to sell it or carry out essential renovation works.
Pommer has campaigned to be compensated in full for the loss of her property ever since.
The $1.7 million that the court ordered the government to pay her was exactly what her legal team said the building and its adjacent parking lot were worth on the basis of a property survey.
The state has not yet said whether it intends to appeal against the ruling, the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper reported.
Hitler’s family rented a top-floor apartment in the building for a few years around of the time of his birth in 1889. The family moved to Passau, just on the other side of the Austrian-German border, when he was three years old.
The property was bought by Martin Bormann, a close aide of Hitler, in 1938 and was placed under state protection. Austria returned the estate to its original owners after the war.
The government had leased the building for decades, but Pommer terminated the rental agreement in 2011 when the government wanted to renovate the property to make it more wheelchair accessible.
Hitler’s birth home has attracted neo-Nazis and other extremists for years, with extremists making the trip to Braunau to take a picture in front of the building.
Glorifying the Nazi era is a crime in Austria. (INN)