Hitler's phone used for death orders up for auction

Hitler is said to have travelled everywhere with the red telephone, which was recovered by a British officer, Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner.

Hitler

Described as “virtually unequalled in historical importance,” Adolf Hitler's phone is up for auction.


The phone which had been a medium of Nazi leader's demands for deaths of millions of Jews and for screaming his last instructions as the Russians closed in on his bunker is set to be auctioned at £400,000.


Hitler is said to have travelled everywhere with the red telephone, which was recovered by a British officer, Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner.


Notably, among the last calls he made from the phone were for the order of execution of his brother-in-law General Hermann Fegelein, for treason. Another was made to instruct his aides to torch his apartments once he and his wife, Eva Braun, had committed suicide.




It was when Brigadier Rayner reached Hitler's bunker after his suicide in April 1945 that he recovered the phone. After the war, he brought the phone, engraved with a swastika and Hitler’s name, back to the UK hidden in a suitcase, as he was afraid he’d be accused of ‘looting,’ from which British troops were forbidden under penalty of court martial.

Before his death in 1977, Rayner passed the phone to his son, Ranulf Rayner, who is now putting up the phone for auction with hopes to display it as a reminder of the terrible crimes carried out by the Nazis.

However, it hadn't been an easy task to bring it for auction as auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s have a policy of not dealing in Nazi memorabilia. Rayner said the phone has been rejected by British museums, including the Imperial War Museum.

The phone is being sold in the US by Alexander Historical Auctions of Maryland later this month.