Austria tries to seize house where Hitler was born

Government wants to stop house in Braunau from becoming neo-Nazi shrine

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How much for the Hitler House?

The Austrian government could seize the house where Hitler was born from its private owner to keep it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Attempts to purchase the property in the town of Braunau am Inn have so far failed and the state aims to bring a bitter legal battle over ownership to an end.

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Officials say the state may make an offer of compensation to the current owner after they unexpectedly refused to grant permission for renovations in 2011. A purchase offer from the Austrian Interior Ministry was also rejected and this has sparked a heated debate among the town's 17,000 residents.

Some think the house should become a refugee centre, while others say it should be transformed into a museum dedicated to his liberation and a number believe it should be demolished but as part of the historic centre of Branau, the house is protected by a preservation order.

Interior ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told AFP news agency: "We are currently examining the creation of a law, which would force a change of ownership and pass the property to the Republic of Austria.

"We have come to the conclusion over the past few years that expropriation is the only way to avoid the building being used for the purposes of Nazi [sympathisers]."

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