Austrian City Puts Nude Statue Donated by Hitler Back on Display

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By Kieran Corcoran | 4:08 am, April 28, 2017

An Austrian city has returned a controversial statue donated by Adolf Hitler to public display.

Linz, one of Hitler’s favorite towns in the Third Reich, received the bronze sculpture as a gift from the Führer in 1942, at the height of the Second World War.

The artwork, a personal gift from the Nazi leader, was meant to help establish the settlement as one of the “cultural capitals” of his dominion.

It was set up in one of the city’s parks, where it stood for decades as its origin faded from memory. (It is pictured above at the site in 2001)

But in 2008 it was removed after a group of local art students dug up its history and complained.

The bronze has been in storage for almost a decade – but will now be made available for public viewings again.

An announcement from a local museum, the Nordico, said that letting people see the statue was an act of remembrance.

It argued that displaying it – with large amounts of historical context – was better than attempting to “dismantle history” by hiding it away.

Local politicians were more or less unanimous in supporting the decision, according to the AFP news agency.

Some pointed out that keeping it at an indoor museum will make sure it does not become a site of pilgrimage for Neo-Nazis.

Linz has a personal connection to Hitler, who lived there for eight years while he was growing up.

Like many areas linked to the Nazi leader, it has agonized over the right way to acknowledge the connection in the modern era.

Many sites associated with his life have been demolished, partly to prevent Hitler devotees flocking to them.

His birthplace in Vienna has been subject to a particularly fierce dispute, especially as the owner and the government disagreed over what to do with it.

For decades, the Austrian government rented the property from landlord Gerlinde Pommer to make sure nobody else could misuse the site.

But late last year, authorities decided to pass legislation to reclaim the building, which is due to be knocked down and replaced with either a charity building or government offices.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Ruchhöft-Plau