Austrian court upholds government seizure of Adolf Hitler house

Austrian court upholds government seizure of Adolf Hitler house

Austria's highest court has ruled the government was within its rights to seize the house where Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 after its owner refused to sell it.

Authorities said the move was needed to give the state full control over plans to reduce the house's attraction for neo-Nazis.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the government had "full authority" to expropriate the house in Braunau am Inn, near the German border.

The expropriation, it said, "was in the public interest, proportionate, and not without compensation and is thus not unconstitutional".

The government wants to remodel the facade of the property to rid it of any visual association with Hitler's birthplace and offer it to an agency that runs workshops for disabled people.

Work is expected to begin in the autumn.

Owner Gerlinde Pommer had challenged the expropriation, saying purchase offers were too low.

Her lawyer, Gerhard Lebitsch, said he assumed Ms Pommer would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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