Would you like to live in this charming little 12th Century Austrian town? Do you see yourself retiring to a life in the foothills of the Alps, less than an hour from Salzburg (think Mozart, and ‘Sound of Music’) in the hometown of FranzXaver Gruber, the composer of the carol ‘Stille Nacht’(‘Silent Night’)?
Availability of property of any quality in Braunau am Inn in is rare, unfortunately. When a fine example does come on the market it is invariably pricey. You would expect it to be so. For a roomy statement town house, this house, for example; Salzburger Vorstadt 15, with its parking spaces, its garaging and all mod con, 1.5 million euros (1.7 million dollars) would not seem unreasonable, would it? That’s what its 68-year-old owner Gerlinde Pommer thinks, and fortunately a northern regional court in Austria has backed her valuation up.
So, how about making an offer?
Well, there is a small problem. You would face competition from the Republic of Austria, that has been renting the house at 5000 euros per month for some years. The national government desperately wants to buy the place itself – in fact, it offered Gerlinde 310, 000 euros for the freehold only two years ago. That’s why she appealed to her regional court – she thought the offer was too low.
Well, alright; there are two small problems to get over if you want to buy this house. The second problem concerns a former tenant who was born there in April, 1889, while Lois Hitler and his third wife rented an apartment on the top floor. Little Adolph’s residency was brief because his family moved on in 1892, but Saltzburger Vorstadt 15’s mark upon history as Hitler’s birthplace is indelible.
There’s a stone monument erected before the house to remind all who pass by of the horrors of the Holocaust, but that still doesn’t prevent neo-Nazis and pro-Nazi sympathizers from meeting there, treating the house as a place of pilgrimage. It is because of a fear that the property might become a shrine for the extreme right wing of Austro-German politics that the national government wanted initially to tear the place down, but in the face of persistent opposition they have promised instead to ‘alter it beyond recognition’. It stands empty, having been used for some years as a facility for the disabled.
So ‘with vacant possession’ might be appropriate, might it not? Tempted? No?
Then let’s sit back and watch as the arguments about valuation and possession go on, right up to European Court level, I suspect, because the Austrian State Government doesn’t want to pay Gerlinde’s price.
We’ll wait until something less problematic becomes available. I wonder if Saltzburger Vorstadt 14 will hit the market anytime soon?
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Picture attribute: By Stadtamt Braunau am Inn – Stadtamt Braunau am Inn, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18971999