Work began on Monday to transform Adolf Hitler’s childhood home in Austria into a police station, with laborers putting up fencing and taking measurements, according to the Associated Press.
Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in the town of Braunau am Inn in modern-day Austria, and lived there until the age of three.
In 2016, Vienna took control of the building in a bid to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine. Disseminating Nazi propaganda is a criminal offense in Austria.
The expropriation came after years of legal wrangling with the building’s longtime owner, Gerlinde Pommer, who had been renting the property to the Interior Ministry since the 1970s and refused to sell or adequately maintain it.
Austrian director Guenter Schwaiger, who produced a documentary about the house, recently told AFP that the plans will “always be suspected” of being “in line with the dictator’s [Hitler] wishes.”
Schwaiger cited the discovery of a local newspaper article from May 10, 1939, saying Hitler’s desire was to have his birth home converted into offices for local authorities.
Schwaiger called on the Austrian government to rethink the move.
The redesign of the 8,600 square foot corner house is estimated to cost some $21.76 million.
A memorial stone with the inscription “for freedom, democracy and liberty. Never again fascism. Millions of dead remind us” is to remain in place outside the house, AP reported.
Police are expected to enter the premises in 2026.