Gasthaus zur Pommer, Hitler’s Birthplace, to be Converted Into a Museum Dedicated to His Crimes

The Austrian government is set to convert Gasthaus zur Pommer, the former pub where the notorious German dictator Adolf Hitler was born, into a ‘House of Responsibility’, a museum dedicated to exposing the Nazi leader’s crimes.

Gasthaus zur Pommer, a former pub which also served as a library, a nursing facility for the disabled, a school, a bank and a workshop in the past years, has remained empty for three years now. Officials of the Austrian town Branau-am-inn has been paying the owners of the edifice a monthly fee of £3,250 just to keep it empty as they planned on what to do with it.

Gasthaus zur Pommer: From Pub to House of Responsibility

A historic picture of Gasthaus zur Pommer.
A historic picture of Gasthaus zur Pommer

Now, historian Andreas Maislinger suggested the project of turning the former pub, Gasthaus zur Pommer, into a ‘house of responsibility’. The latter is a museum dedicated to exposing the crimes and horrors that Adolf Hitler spearheaded and did as Nazi Germany’s notorious Fuehrer during WWII.

Maislinger is backed by the Austrian interior ministry in Vienna. Moreover, he also has the support of Branko Lustig, a Jewish-born Academy -award winning producer in Hollywood. Lustig has promised a substantial amount of money from Hollywood’s key industry players to make the museum come into fruition.

Before Maislinger’s idea of turning Gasthaus zur Pommer into a ‘house of responsibility’, other suggestions for the edifice included total demolition and converting it into a residential complex. Both these ideas, however, failed to gain traction.

Maislinger, who was always against the idea of turning the former pub into apartments or luxury flats, pointed out that though it is fully understandable why no one wanted something connected to the infamous German dictator, turning the edifice into flats to ‘start on a clean slate’, so to speak, wouldn’t work. Maislinger even cited an example, a situation of ‘what ifs’ when the right-wing parents of a child living in the former-pub-turned-flat named their child Adolf.

In connection to the issue, those who support the turning of Gasthaus zur Pommer to a ‘House of responsibility’ hope that the museum will strip the edifice off of its appeal to neo-Nazis who still continue to visit the building on Hitler’s birthday  just so they could worship him.

Maislinger argued that there is a great possibility that these people will lose their obsessive interest on Hitler’s birthplace once the place is converted into a museum, which is a strong marker against everything the German leader had stood for.

Gasthaus zur Pommer: The History

It was way back in the 20th of April, 1889 when  Adolf Hitler was born in Gasthaus zur Pommer. However, Hitler’s family moved out of the building shortly after his mother gave birth to him.

After the Anschluss in 1938, the time when the German dictator absorbed Austria into Greater Germany, Gasthaus zur Pommer ended in the hands of Martin Bormann. During this time, it became a cultural for Nazi followers. At least one visit into Gasthaus zur Pommer became a vital requirement for those who wanted to climb up higher in rank within the Nazi party.

Before WWII came to an end, Nazi fanatics tried to demolish their building. But their efforts failed. Gasthaus zur Pommer eventually ended in the hands of the Americans.

In 1912, the Pommer family bought the property. They still owned the edifice until now. Then, in 2011, the town officials truck a deal with the said family to keep it unoccupied in exchange for a monthly lease. It has remained empty since.

The Gasthaus zur Pommer has only one reminder of its Nazi past — its outside iron gate with the initials MB, the initials of Martin Bormann, the Nazi Party’s secretary.

The remembrance stone outside Gasthaus zur Pommer
The remembrance stone outside Gasthaus zur Pommer

Just this year, a stone quarried from Austria’s Mauthausen concentration camp was brought and placed right outside the former pub. The said stone serves as a ‘remembrance’ of Hitler’s crimes with the words for peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism; millions of dead are a warning carved on it.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE