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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Better late than never? Austrian town catches up with public opinion

Frankly it was a bit of a shock to discover that Adolf Hitler has been an honorary citizen of his town of birth for the last 78 years, so the decision of Braunau council in Austria to withdraw the honour is welcome, though significantly overdue.

The Guardian tells us that Hitler was actually born in the tiny village of Ranshofen, next to Braunau, and became an honorary citizen in 1933. Ranshofen became part of Braunau a few years later and thus Braunau is universally recognised as Hitler's birthplace.

They add that local historians say they aren't sure if the title was transferable, but the town council decided to abolish it, just in case. Some might argue that such an act is irrelevant 66 years after the dictator's death, but the symbolism is important. The question has to be, why did they take so long?
'why did they take so long?'

My guess would be they kept quiet in the hope that nobody would notice such an embarrassing mistake. This would be even more true if it were many years before such an oversight came to light.
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