Society

Hitler's 'Destructive Weapon' To Be Sold At Auction (Photos)

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A Maryland auction house will auction off the personal wartime telephone of Adolf Hitler.

The Siemens rotary telephone, which was originally black and then painted deep red, was given to Hitler by the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany. The phone features the Fuhrer's name engraved on it with a Nazi Party swastika and eagle, according to the item's online listing by Alexander Historical Auctions.

The auction house refers to the telephone as "arguably the most destructive 'weapon' of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world." Hitler reportedly used the phone during the last two years of WWII.

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Following the raid on Hitler's bunker after the fall of Berlin during WWII, Russian officers reportedly gifted the telephone to Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner.

"Rayner went to the Chancellery where Russian officers offered him a tour," the auction house states. "On entering Hitler's private quarters, Rayner was first offered Eva Braun's telephone, but politely declined claiming that his favorite color was red. His Russian hosts were pleased to hand him a red telephone -- the telephone offered here."

The telephone was consigned by a direct descendent of Rayner.

The winner of the auction will receive the telephone and other items that verify it belonged to Hitler, including a copy of a photo of Luftwaffe aces Dieter Hrabak, Hans-Ulrich Rudel and Erwin Hentschel at an awards ceremony in April 1943 possibly giving Hitler the telephone as a gift and a fax message from one of Hitler's personal bodyguards stating, "...from the photo I agree this was the red telephone that accompanied my Father [Hitler] constantly during the last two years of the war."

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A find such as the telephone is one that comes along "perhaps once in a lifetime," according to Alexander Historical Auctions.

"It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history," the listing says.

The phone is estimated to sell at auction for between $200,000 and $300,000 -- close to the amount an Argentinean man spent on a personal item of Hitler's at a 2016 auction in Munich, Germany.

The anonymous buyer purchased one of Hitler's jackets for more than $291,898, according to The Guardian. He spent more than $636,000 on Nazi items in total, which he told the auction house were for a museum.

Sources: Alexander Historical Auctions, The Guardian / Photo credit: Alexander Historical Auctions, Recuerdos de Pandora/Flickr

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