Adolf Hitler's house will become Austrian state property, Vienna announced Saturday – in a move for the public's protection.
Hitler's image has become an icon of white supremacy for neo-Nazi groups – getting stronger, like aging wine, as the decades pass.
As such, seizing Hitler's home prevents neo-Nazis in Austria from using the home as a sort of shrine and deters extremism, Austrian officials believe – a move made after years of discussion over what to do with the property, BBC News reports. Meanwhile, Hitler's unmarked home still attracts a small following of supporters who frequent the venue at Braunau am Inn, where Hitler was born in April, 1889.
"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," ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck stated to AFP.
"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 [sympathizers]."
A previous deal in 2011 fell through after the building's owner, Gerlinde Pommer, refused to allow the government to renovate the building. But the revised decision now surfaces in the nick of time – amid a recent report proving that anti-Semitism rose 80% over the past year alone.
In October, a Jewish cemetery was defiled with Nazi symbols and anti-migrant slogans in western Austria, just weeks after similar attacks on a refugee hostel and Jewish museum.Unknown perpetrators desecrated graves and buildings with a red pen in the Jewish cemetery of the town of Hohenems, close to the Swiss border.
And several weeks later, Austria's far-right Freedom Party dismissed one of its lawmakers, Susanne Winter, for an anti-Semitic Facebook post.