Austrian Government Passes Law to Seize Hitler's House

Adolf Hitler makes a speech, circa 1936, in Germany. Keystone/Getty

Austria's Parliament has passed a law allowing it to seize the house where Adolf Hitler was born, taking it out of private ownership.

The house in the picturesque town of Braunau am Inn has previously been rented by Austria's interior ministry to prevent it becoming a site of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis.

But owner Gerlinde Pommer had repeatedly refused to sell the building in Braunau am Inn or allow renovations, the BBC reported.

The house, where the Hitlers lived at the time of the future dictator's birth in 1889 before leaving when he was three, became a shrine to the Fuhrer during Nazi rule in Austria. In 1944 it was closed down.

In the past, it was used by a local charity as a day center for people with special needs. But the charity had to move out a few years ago due to Pommer's refusal to allow renovations.

Now a debate rages over its future. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka has said it should be knocked down, but a panel of historians who were consulted on the matter have argued that would mean denying Austria's previous links with Nazism.