For generations, Gerlinde Pommer’s family has owned the yellow, three-story structure in Braunau am Inn, a small medieval town near Austria’s border with Germany.
And for years, she has been locked in a dispute with the Austrian government over ownership of the property — which is the home where Adolf Hitler was born. A major sticking point was over how much money Pommer, who inherited the controversial building, should be compensated.
The Austrian government has long deliberated on what should be done with the building — whether it should be razed to prevent it from becoming a shrine to neo-Nazis, a move that could lead to criticism that Austria is destroying part of its dark past.
A stone memorial to Holocaust victims sits in front of the building, as NPR has reported. “For peace, freedom and democracy,” the inscription reads. “Never again fascism. Millions dead are a warning.”
The dispute started in 2012, after Pommer refused to greenlight requests for renovations. In 2016, the government began an attempt to seize the vacant property. At the time, the Interior Ministry spokesperson said the state would offer compensation to the owner of the building.
This February, a district court in Ried im Innkreis, a town in northern Austria, ordered the country’s government to pay Pommer the equivalent of about $1.7 million. That ruling was overturned in the spring by a regional court, and the Supreme Court of Justice in Vienna upheld the decision in June.
The Supreme Court ruled that Pommer should receive about $908,000 (812,000 euros) in compensation. The decision was made public by Austria’s Interior Ministry on Monday.
Hitler was born in the building in 1889, above a bar called the Stag, according to local historian Florian Kotanko. The pub served locals, and renters lived in the apartments upstairs. Hitler’s family rented an apartment somewhere on the second floor, he said. Read more