Braunau am Inn

Braunau is small town next to the german border and the river Inn where about 17,000 people lives. The town is not a major tourist destination, nor is it known for any specific cuisine, crafts or anything else. It would probably be just another town if it weren’t because it was at Gasthof (Josef) Pommer on Salzburger Vorstadt 15, that Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, son of Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl. When Germany incorporated Austria into Germany in 1938, the house became a Nazi shrine where people travelled to see Hitler’s birthplace. Hitler himself visited the house only once when he visited Austria after it had been incorporated.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2008).

Address: Salzburger Vorstadt 15, 5280 Braunau am Inn.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The stone monument in front of the house is of course not dedicated to Hitler but to Hitler’s victims.  The stone comes from Mauthausen concentration camp quarry. It was erected on the centenary of Hitler’s birth and bears the text, Für Frieden Freiheit und Demokratie Nie wieder Faschismus Millionen Tote mahnen. Freely translated, ”For peace, freedom and democracy and never again fascism, in memory of the millions of dead”. According to the tourist office in Braunau, one out of three tourists asks where Hitler’s birth house is. In 2008, a daily activity was run in the house. The future of the house has long been the subject of discussion. On one hand you do not want it to attract wrong kinds of people, on the other hand, you do not want to just tear it down because it’s Hitler’s birthplace.

Follow up in books: Kershaw, Ian: Hitler – A Biography (2008).