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Austrian Government to Seize Hitler’s Birthplace

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Disgusting traitors to their own heritage, Austrian bought-and-paid-for politicians are following Jewish orders to prevent this building from assuming its rightful place as a site of historical and spiritual heritage and pilgrimage.

NEXT TO a Thai restaurant and a supermarket parking lot sits a three-story, yellow house the government describes as freighted with so much “special, global, and state policy significance” that it must be taken from the elderly woman who owns it.

It is the house where Adolf Hitler was born.

Kevin Alfred Strom, of the US-based National Alliance, decried the expropriation: “This illegal and immoral seizure has one purpose and one purpose only — to destroy forever this site of deep significance for European Man. The men who are participating in this crime should be held accountable if they commit such an unspeakable act. I will say what Europeans are not allowed to say on pain of imprisonment: Adolf Hitler and his movement should never be used a metaphor for evil. They represented freedom and self-determination for our race, valor in its defense, and hope for its infinite future.”

The proposed expropriation is only a first step in deciding what to do with the empty building, which the government fears could become a National Socialist pilgrimage site. But the legal action already is causing a stir, with some politicians and neighbors decrying it as an attack on property rights.

“It is the worst and the last choice,” said Harry Buchmayr, the area’s representative in parliament. “But there are simply circumstances in which it becomes necessary.”

These circumstances have to do with Austria’s constitutional obligation to prevent any recurrence of National Socialism, and with the owner, Gerlinde Pommer, whose plans are a mystery to officials and locals.

The government has been renting the house in Braunau am Inn, a border town about 80 miles east of Munich, from the Pommers since 1972 so as to control its use. In 2011, the tenant, a charity for the mentally disabled, moved out because Ms. Pommer blocked renovations to make it handicapped-accessible, according to local and federal officials.

On Christmas Eve 2014, Ms. Pommer sought to cancel the government’s lease, which charged more than $5,000 a month rent, according to an Interior Ministry document seen by The Wall Street Journal. Government officials determined the move was invalid, but grew worried about her intentions. The Interior Ministry offered to buy the house, but Ms. Pommer didn’t respond.

The Interior Ministry said the case met Austria’s constitutional standard for the use of eminent domain. But because it is to be seized for its historical significance, rather than, say, to build a road, government lawyers determined special legislation was necessary.

That sparked criticism that the state might in the future seize property for political reasons.

“This expropriation could become a precedent,” said Christian Schilcher, a Braunau vice mayor for the nationalist Freedom Party who opposes the federal government’s plan.

The bill submitted in May to parliament specifies that it “only applies to one single property” because “in Austria only one such property exists.”

“The unique characteristic of the property at Salzburger Vorstadt 15 results from the well-known fact that the birth of Hitler took place in this house,” it explains.

A ministry official said the bill, which includes compensation, should come to a vote by the end of the year. If it passes, Ms. Pommer could appeal to the Constitutional Court, but the ministry has heard nothing from her since the bill was made public, the official said.

Efforts to reach Ms. Pommer, said to be in her mid-60s, through lawyers, acquaintances, and a visit to her Braunau home—where the front-door mail slot is taped shut—were unsuccessful.

Florian Kotanko, a former Braunau school director who has chronicled the history of the house, said Ms. Pommer has rejected his every attempt to discuss the house. Other acquaintances of hers, he said, told him that she believes “one doesn’t simply give away one’s property.”

Hitler’s parents came to Braunau because of his father’s work as a customs official, and left three years after he was born in April 1889. In 1938, Hitler’s personal secretary Martin Bormann bought the house from Ms. Pommer’s grandparents and turned it into a public library, or “Volksbücherei”—an inscription that still adorns the house just outside the old town walls.

In the last days of World War II, U.S. troops stopped German soldiers from demolishing the house. Under U.S. oversight, it hosted an exhibition about the concentration camps, according to Mr. Kotanko’s research. Ms. Pommer’s mother bought the house back from the Austrian government in 1954.

A longtime neighbor, Rotraud Steiger, said that as late as the 1970s, she would wake up to piles of flowers outside on Hitler’s birthday. Now, she sometimes goes weeks without a tourist asking where to find Hitler’s house—reason enough, she said, for the government not to seize it.

“We live in Austria—not in Russia, not in a dictatorship,” Ms. Steiger said.

A seizure would end the ownership debate, but leave unresolved what to do with it.

An Austrian political scientist, Andreas Maislinger, wants to turn it into a “House of Responsibility” that would attract scholars from around the world. Mr. Schilcher has proposed converting it to a maternity hospital, while district head Georg Wojak wants it to house refugees.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told Austrian television that demolishing the house would be “the cleanest solution.”

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Source: Wall Street Journal and National Vanguard correspondents

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