The House Where Hitler Was Born

Jan 23, 2017 1 comments

Braunau am Inn, on the south bank of the Inn river, close to the border with Germany, is a charming little town in Austria. But it carries a dark legacy.

Not far from the main square is the street Salzburger Vorstadt, where stands a nondescript three-story, beige-colored brick building, bearing house number 15. It’s the house where Adolf Hitler was born.

The leader of the Nazi party was born here on 20 April 1889. At that time, the building was a modest guest house where Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler Sr., was staying with his wife and Adolf’s mother, Klara Pƶlzl, during the years when Hitler senior was posted as minor customs official at the nearby Austrian–German border. The Hitlers lived in the building only for a few weeks, before the family moved to another address in Braunau. When Adolf was three years old, the family left the town for good. Hitler returned only briefly to Braunau in 1938, on his way to Vienna, after he annexed Austria to Nazi Germany.


Photo credit: Michael Kranewitter/Wikimedia

This 17th century building has been an inn as far back as anybody can remember. All it did was changed owners. After Adolf Hitler became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, the property’s value quadrupled. The building was acquired by the Nazis, it was renovated and turned into a cultural center with a gallery and a public library. After the end of the Second World War, the house was returned to the former owners, and until 1965, it was used as public library.

Throughout the years, this odd attraction has been a site of pilgrimage for Nazi sympathizers and the extreme right. The Austrian interior ministry became so concerned about the possibility of neo-Nazis using the building that in 1972 it rented the building from the owners to prevent Hitler enthusiasts from getting hold of it. Until about five years ago, the Austrian ministry operated a day-care center and workshop for people with disabilities in the building. But the lease ended in 2011, and since then the building has been lying vacant.

The house itself is unmarked, but there is a large granite near the sidewalk, which was placed on the corner in 1989 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Hitler's birth. The English translation of the words on the stone are:

For Peace, Freedom
and Democracy.
Never Again Fascism.
Millions of Dead Remind [us]

The stone for the memorial comes from the famous quarry at the Mauthausen concentration camp.

The future of Adolf Hitler’s birthplace is uncertain, but there was an announcement some months ago that the building is going to be demolished.

Some of Braunau’s residents should be happy with the news.

"The people are fed up," told Braunau's second deputy mayor Christian Schilcher, to BBC. "This theme is a problem for the image of Braunau. We want to be a beautiful little town, with tourism and visitors. We are not the children of Hitler."


Photo credit: Anton-kurt/Wikimedia


Adolf Hitler's birth house in Braunau am Inn (Austria) in about 1934, the roof blows a swastika flag.



Adolf Hitler as a child, circa 1889/1890


Photo credit: Michael Kranewitter/Wikimedia

Sources: The Independent / BBC / Wikipedia


  1. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. We need reminders of the detestable parts so we can at least be grateful for how far we have come since these dark days. While the scope of inhumanity pales in comparison to this, the US still has the Salem witch trial history as a grim reminder of our past. We do not celebrate it, but learn from it. i so not consider a house where someone bad was born a negative statement about the surrounding community. A dandelion can sprout in any garden. You don't burn the garden because a weed grew there once.


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