Another chapter has closed in the ownership saga of Hitler’s vacant birth home, which was seized last year by the Austrian government from its longtime owner, Gerlinde Pommer, who had refused to sell it. Last week, the AP reported that the Austrian Constitutional court, the country’s top court, ruled that the government’s seizure of the property was constitutional. (Pommer will continue to receive compensation). The government believes that the building, which is located in the town of Braunau am Inn on the northwest border with Germany, has the potential to become a Nazi pilgrimage site.
According to a press release (via Jurist), the government’s measures, ruled the court, are “necessary to…deprive it of its symbolic power”—an act that “can only be taken if the Republic of Austria obtains full power of disposal of the property.” The lawyer representing Pommer argued that the appeal of the home as a pilgrimage site would still appeal, especially given that plans for the building’s future are still not in place.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.