Adolf Hitler parents' tombstone in Austria removed

image captionThe site used to attract various tributes from right-wing extremists

The tombstone marking the grave of Adolf Hitler's parents in Austria has been removed, officials say, to end its use as a pilgrimage site for right-wing extremists.

The grave is in Leonding, 10km (six miles), from the city of Linz.

A descendant of the family made the decision, the mayor of Leonding, Walter Brunner, said.

Adolf Hitler was born near Braunau, 100km away, but spent much of his childhood in Leonding.

Mr Brunner said he had no more details of the decision by the descendant, but welcomed it, the Associated Press reported.

The relative has given up her rights to the rented plot.

Without ceremony

The tombstone for the parents, Alois and Klara, was removed on Wednesday and the plot will now be used for a new burial, the pastor of the parish, Kurt Pittertschatscher, told local media.

"The rights holder has relinquished it. The tombstone has been taken away and the grave can now be reassigned," Mr Pittertschatscher said.

He added: "The upkeep of the grave was becoming increasingly difficult as the years went by, and the grave... kept being misused for gatherings of sympathisers."

When asked whether he believed it unlikely anyone would want the plot, he said: "I really haven't thought about it."

The descendant is said to be an elderly female relative of Alois Hitler's first wife, Anna.

Mr Pittertschatscher said the relative had employed a stonemason to remove the headstone without ceremony.

It is not known what happened to the remains in the grave. A white gravel square and a tree now stand at the site.

Anti-fascist groups had lobbied for the removal of the tombstone.

In 2011, a vase bearing the word "unvergesslich" (unforgettable) with the two s's marked in the style of the SS was left at the site.

The Upper Austrian Network Against Fascism pressure group said the removal was a "welcome success".

The network's Robert Eiter said: "A lot of flowers and wreaths were deposited there from people who clearly were admirers. It had to do with the son and not the parents."

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