Hitler and Mussolini once exchanged fascist salutes in its entrance hall and four years later the monumental, grey-pillared building in Venice’s Giardini park was turned into a Nazi shrine displaying busts of the two dictators alongside muscle-bound Aryans sculpted by the Third Reich artist, Arno Breker. Nowadays the German Pavilion – which is used for German art and architecture exhibits during the prestigious Venice Biennale – remains a prime example of Nazi design. The removal of swastikas and the Nazi eagle have been the only significant changes made to its grim and forbidding exterior since 1945. But with the architecture Biennale set to open on 29 August, an angry dispute has erupted over demands that the pavilion be razed to the ground because it is an unpalatable reminder of past tyranny.