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Austrian court upholds government seizure of Hitler house

Associated Press logo Associated Press 30/06/2017
FILE - This Sept. 27, 2012 file picture shows an exterior view of Adolf Hitler's birth house, front, in Braunau am Inn, Austria. Hitler was born in 1889 in the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the German border. 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. The Constitutional Court ruled Friday June 30, 2017 that the government had "full authority" to expropriate the house in Brauau am Inn, near the German border. (AP Photo / Kerstin Joensson, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Sept. 27, 2012 file picture shows an exterior view of Adolf Hitler's birth house, front, in Braunau am Inn, Austria. Hitler was born in 1889 in the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the German border. 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. The Constitutional Court ruled Friday June 30, 2017 that the government had "full authority" to expropriate the house in Brauau am Inn, near the German border. (AP Photo / Kerstin Joensson, File)

VIENNA — Austria's highest court on Friday 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, saying the move was needed to give the state full control over plans to reduce its 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 this fall.

Owner Gerlinde Pommer had challenged the expropriation, saying purchase offers were too low. Her lawyer, Gerhard Lebitsch, said he assumed Pommer would now take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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