() the house in Austria The site where Adolf Hitler was born will be converted into a human rights training center for police officers, the Austrian Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The building, located in the northwestern town of Braunau am Inn, will house the center together with a police stationfor which the Austrian government revealed its plans in 2019.
The decision was made based on the recommendations of an interdisciplinary commission of experts concerned with depriving the property of its “mythical appeal to extremist circles,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We have to face our past and give this place steeped in history a vital perspective,” historian Oliver Rathkolb, a professor at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna, told a news conference on Tuesday.
Hitler was born in an apartment in the building on April 20, 1889, and lived there until his family left when he was three years old.
The building belonged to Gerlinde Pommer, whose family owned the building before Hitler’s birth, for decades until the Interior Ministry began renting the space from her in 1972.
It was sublet to various charities. However, the three-story house has been empty since 2011, when the tenant, a center for the disabled, vacated the premises.
The government said in 2016 that the property would be demolished, but the Interior Ministry invoked a “special legal authorization” to expropriate the property.
Legal disputes over seizure and compensation followed, during which plans to tear down the building were shelved.
After securing the site, the Austrian government remained concerned that it would attract neo-Nazis and other supporters of Hitler’s ideology. Announcing the decision to transform it into a police station in 2019, then Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said that “the future use of the house by the police will be a sure sign that this building will never serve to commemorate National Socialism.”
“It will be an office for the largest human rights organization in Austria – the police – and also a training center on this fundamentally important issue,” Hermann Feiner, a commission member and former head of construction and real estate projects at the Ministry of Interior.
The reconversion, whose cost is estimated at 20 million euros ($21.5 million), is expected to be completed in 2025, with the police moving to the following year.
‘s Oscar Holland contributed to this article.