Following years of uncertainty and dispute over the future of Adolf Hitler’s childhood home, Austrian officials announced Tuesday that the building would be turned into a police station. The transformation, Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement, would send an “unmistakable signal” that the property does not commemorate Nazism.
Hitler — whose fascist Nazi regime murdered an estimated 6 million Jews and millions of others during World War II — was born in the house in the Austrian border town of Braunau am Inn in 1889. He lived there till the age of 3, when his family relocated to nearby Passau in Germany.
Though Hitler didn’t spend much time in the house nor in Braunau, both have been unable to shed their strong connection to the Nazi leader.
The house continues to attract Nazi sympathizers, The Guardian reported. It is not uncommon to see “neo-Nazis stop in front of the house to be photographed making the Hitler greeting,” a local politician said in 2016.
To prevent the building from becoming a shrine for extremists, Austrian officials have been engaged in a years-long legal battle to gain ownership of the property, which was owned for nearly a century by a local family.
The legal tussle was finally resolved earlier this year when a court ruled on the amount of compensation that Gerlinde Pommer, who inherited the family home, should receive. It was determined that Pommer, who had been renting out the property to the government for years, would receive about $900,000.
On Tuesday, Austria’s interior ministry said it would be inviting architects from across the European Union to submit plans for the building’s transformation into a police station.
“The house’s future use by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will never again evoke the memory of [Nazism],” Peschorn, the interior minister, said.