Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hitler's birthplace under threat

A Russian MP wants to buy the house where Adolf Hitler was born - so he can knock it down.
Frantz Klintsevich, an MP from the ruling United Russia party, is aiming to collect $AU2.8 million from supporters to buy the house in the Austrian town of Braunau-am-Inn, according to a report in the Russian newspaper, Izvestia.
'I would buy this property in the blink of an eye if I had that kind of money myself, but I do not. If I were to receive financial help, I would buy the house and destroy it demonstratively,' he told the paper.
Austria's interior ministry has rented the house since 1972 from the owner - a woman in her 60s who refuses to be identified publicly - and has been careful to sublet only to tenants with no history of admiring Hitler.
The 500-year-old building, which has thick walls, a huge arched doorway and deep-set windows, was most recently used as a workshop for people with learning difficulties, before that tenant moved out for more modern quarters.
In September, the mayor of Braunau-am-Inn suggested that the building should be turned into apartments.
Mr Klintsevich has not had any response from the hugely rich oligarchs that the country has produced over the past two decades, but he says some members of the Communist Party have been positive about the appeal.
'Everything that is connected to fascism should be wiped off the face of the earth. No one should even know that place ever existed,' Vadim Solovyov, a member of the Communist Party's State Duma fraction, told the newspaper.
Mr Klintsevich does have his detractors, however.
One, Yevgeny Proshechkin, head of the Moscow Anti-Fascism Centre, said the MP should first discover whether or not the Austrians were prepared to sell the house to foreigners and, if so, would they allow it to be knocked down.
If not, what would be the upkeep be, Mr Proshechkin asked.
Braunau's town council only withdrew honorary citizenship from Hitler last year, 78 years after he was given the accolade.


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