It may seem like a damaged antique phone with chipped red paint, but it’s not an ordinary telephone and it is called the ‘Death Phone’ for a reason. This phone belonged to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (need I say more?) and now, it’s going up for auction, where it has quite the potential to fetch over half a million bucks.
This ‘Death Phone’ was used to order the deaths of millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust, and it was recovered from Hitler's bunker in Berlin shortly after he committed suicide. A ‘swastika’, as well as Hitler's name, can be seen engraved on the phone. Even the scorch marks on the phone from when the Nazi dictator’s henchmen set fire to the area on his orders can be seen.
The British officer Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner, who got the phone, hid it in his suitcase and took it back to the UK, where he has preserved it since 1945.
Rayner was sent by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to meet his Russian counterparts in Berlin and later, was gifted the battered phone. Fearing the charges of looting, Rayner refused to talk about the phone for decades.
His son Ranulf Rayner is now the owner of the phone, after his father, who went on to become a member of Parliament, died in 1977. Ranulf, 82, in an interview, told the nypost:
“I remember him returning from Germany with Hitler’s ‘hotline’ red telephone hidden in his suitcase. Apart from proudly showing these two war trophies to his immediate family on his return, he didn’t mention them again for many years.”
“This was Hitler’s personal instrument of death,” continued Ranulf. “It is a very sinister piece of equipment when you think about what it was used for. He would have used it extensively to scream brutal orders to those running the concentration camps and to his generals on the battlefield.”
The ‘Death Phone’ was not only used to issue most of the commands, but Hitler himself used it to order the execution of his brother-in-law Gen. Hermann Fegelein, for treason.
The phone is being auctioned on February 19 by Alexander Historical Auctions based in Chesapeake City, Maryland.