They prepare a documentary on Hitler’s house in Austria and the negative impact to confront his past

  • The documentary portrays what the mythical building meant for Austria during the life of Hitler

The history of Hitler’s birthplace as a symbol that Austria has not confronted its Nazi past is the focus of a documentary in which the Austrian filmmaker Günter Schwaiger denounces that the final use that will be given to the building after years of debate, a police station Police, fulfills the dictator’s wish.

With “Who is afraid of Hitler’s people?”, the director, who has lived in Spain for years, argues that Austrian politicians and society as a whole have not yet assumed their role as perpetrators, collaborators and sympathizers of the Nazi regime.

“This house is for me a symbol of our history as perpetrators,” says the filmmaker.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, Austria began to acknowledge its involvement in Nazi crimes, but that was only done in relation to the victims. (…) What has not been done up to now is to confront our past as executioners, as sympathizers, and how that affects us in the present”, the filmmaker told EFE in Vienna.

Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn on April 20, 1889 in a house where he lived for a short time. In fact, the family left the town when the future dictator was three years old.

From 1972 until the end of 2016, when it was expropriated, the State rented it to prevent it from becoming a place that extolled Hitler and attracted neo-Nazis.

Until 2011 it housed a shop-workshop for an organization for the disabled who had to leave the place because the owner refused to adapt the building to their needs.

The house has been empty since that year, and for a long time it was discussed whether to use the building for charitable-social or administrative use.

In 2019, the Ministry of the Interior announced that it would host a police station, a decision that was widely contested in Austria and by the residents of Braunau, and that the documentary denounces that it does nothing more than fulfill what Hitler wanted for the building.

During filming, the director located an article published in a local newspaper in May 1939 mentioning that Hitler had put the house at the disposal of the local Nazi authorities in Braunau and that he wanted it to be given administrative use. .

Both the director of the film and the historian Florian Kotanko, an expert in the history of the house, maintain that turning the building into a police station is fulfilling that wish.

“Unfortunately, I have to say, that is exactly what Adolf Hitler wanted,” Schwaiger told EFE during the media presentation of his documentary.