It may seem like an old phone with chipped red paint, but it’s known as the “death phone” for a reason. And now, it’s going up for auction, where it may fetch over half a million bucks, Esquire reports.
Adolf Hitler’s 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. The phone is engraved with a swastika, as well as Hitler’s name.
Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner, a British officer, recovered the phone in the Fuhrer’s Berlin bunker, shortly after Hitler and wife Eva Braun committed suicide as Russian forces approached in April 1945.
“I remember him returning from Germany with Hitler’s ‘hotline’ red telephone hidden in his suitcase,” said Rayner’s son Ranulf, who was gifted the phone before his father, who went on to become a member of Parliament, died in 1977. “Apart from proudly showing these two war trophies to his immediate family on his return, he didn’t mention them again for many years.”
The phone, which is being auctioned off today by Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, is just as important during this political climate as it was then.