Adolf Hitler’s bunker phone, which has been described as the Nazi leaders’ “mobile device of destruction,” will be sold this month at an auction in the U.S.
The phone, which has been held at an English country house since Hitler's suicide in 1945, is set to be sold in Maryland by Alexander Historical Auctions on Feb. 19, according to the New York Post.
According to the auction house, Hitler’s phone, painted in red with his name engraved, was “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world,” CNN noted.
Hitler was known to use the bunker telephone to give commands that led to the deaths of millions of Jews during World War II, according to a catalog for the auction house.
The “death phone” could go for more than $500,000 at the upcoming auction.
The phone was originally recovered by British officer Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner from the Fuhrer’s Berlin bunker following the suicides of Hitler and wife Eva Braun in April of 1945, the Post said.
“I remember him returning from Germany with Hitler’s ‘hotline’ red telephone hidden in his suitcase,” said Rayner’s son Ranulf, according to the New York Post. “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,” Ranulf added. “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 orders Hitler shouted down the phone’s mouthpiece, many of which are recorded in history, are a lesson we should never forget,” he said.
Auctioneer Bill Panagopulos said he was surprised when Rayner reached out to him about the phone.
“When Mr. Rayner first called and described the phone and the story behind it, I almost fell off my chair,” Panagopulos said, according to the New York Post. “It stopped me dead. This phone is as significant an item, in terms of historical importance, as I have ever come across relating to Hitler.”
“When you consider what this was used for, this is remarkable,” Panagopulos added. “It is arguably the most destructive weapon of all time. He would have used it to order that Stalingrad must be held at all costs, and to launch the deadly V-1 and V-2 rocket attacks on Britain.”
Rayner said British museums opted not to take Hitler’s bunker phone for display, according to the Business Dispatch.
This was due, in part, to a policy prohibiting the use and dealing of Nazi memorabilia.
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