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Austria plans to seize house where Hitler was born

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BBC

The Austrian government says it plans to seize the house where Adolf Hitler was born to stop it being a focal point for Nazi sympathisers.

Officials say the decision was taken after several years of discussion about how to prevent neo-Nazi interest.

Hitler was born in the house in the town of Braunau am Inn in April, 1889.

The property has been leased from its owner by the government since 1972, and it was used for many years as a centre for people with disabilities.

But it fell empty in 2011 following a dispute between the government and the owner, Gerlinde Pommer, who refused to grant permission for renovation.

The new plan would include an offer of compensation from the state to her, 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]."

He did not say what the government might then do with the property.

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