Man at His Best

Price of Hitler's phone: USD243,000

Bought at auction by an anonymous bidder

BY Daniel Goh | Mar 3, 2017 | Culture

Tens of millions died during the second world war. This is the device which Adolf Hitler used to give his orders during the war's final two years in 1944-45. It was recovered from the ‘Fuhrerbunker’ and recently bought for USD243,000 (RM1+ million) by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, America.

According to the auction house, one day after the German surrender in 1945, Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner entered the bunker and was offered a tour by the Russian officials. Within Hitler’s private quarters he was offered the Fuhrer’s personal telephone that had “ADOLF HITLER” engraved along with the eagle and swastika of the Nazi Party. When Rayner died, his son Ranulf, now 82 years old, inherited it.

The phone was a gift from the Wehrmacht but was not the regular office telephone which Hitler would presumably use to “to solicit contributions to the party or to answer polite calls at the Berghof,” according to Alexander Historical Auctions. Rather, this was the device that Hitler would use in the Wolf’s Lair, his field headquarters, and in the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin until the end of his days. Rochus Misch, a member of Hitler's personal bodyguard and a telephone operator within the bunker, confirms further the validity of the phone 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...”

The phone's successful bidder remains anonymous but if you think only the Neo Nazis would want something like this, you’d be sorely mistaken. Collectors all over the world are actively seeking out and purchasing Nazi-era memorabilia. History buffs and celebrities like Ozzy Osbourne are paying top dollar to own a part of history. And it’s not just the helmets, rifles and uniforms being traded, The Independent reports that Dreweatts once auctioned off a silver tray presented to Adolf Hitler for his 50th birthday by Albert Speer for GBP28,000. A British tycoon, Kevin Wheatcroft, owns the convertible Mercedes G4 that Hitler used to ride into Sudetenland in 1938.

Far from being just a token of his propaganda, Hitler’s phone is a stark reminder of the destructive forces that ideology unleashes. Is USD243,000 a lot to shell out for a phone? Right now, there's a market for new phones costing more than USD300,000:

The Vertu Signature Cobra. Retail price: USD310,000