Lustig to attend congress in Hitler hometown

Hundreds of people including Oscar winner Branko Lustig will gather at the birthplace of Adolf Hitler this weekend to discuss the town’s difficult heritage and ways of fighting xenophobic ways of thinking.

Historians, artists and politicians like Social Democratic (SPÖ) Parliamentary President Barbara Prammer are set to attend the Days of Contemporary History 2011 in Braunau where the Third Reich leader was born. The congress takes place for the 20th time this year.

Various lectures will be held in the Upper Austrian town this evening (Fri), tomorrow and on Sunday. Organisers of the conference have stressed there will be many opportunities for visitors to engage in discussions about the past, present and future of Austria and Europe.

They explained the mayors of Braunau, Gori and Predappio would speak about their personal experiences in heading the town council of a place where some of history’s most feared dictators were born. Soviet Union emperor Stalin was born in Gori. Predappio is the birthplace of Italian fascist Benito Mussolini.

Lustig will come to Braunau on Sunday. The Croat filmmaker received an Academy Award for his production “Schindler’s List” in 1994.

A survey by sociologist Judith Forstner showed that around a third of Braunau’s populace think others are prejudiced against the town, according to profil. The magazine recently reported that research also showed that four in 10 Braunau citizens were asked about Hitler “very often” while another 43 per cent are confronted with the issue “now and then”.