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By Eric Lieberman
The telephone of the infamous Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler sold at a Sunday auction in the U.S. for $243,000.
The organization operating the auction refers to the phone as “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction” and calls it “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world,” according to CNN.
(The phone is not “mobile” and likely required some hard wires.)
The red phone, which was originally black, has the despot’s name and a swastika engraved in it. It was originally made by Siemens, a German conglomerate that, along with several other companies, has faced lawsuits for allegedly using concentration camp labor during World War II.
The device was recovered from the Führerbunker (an air-raid shelter where Hitler spent his final days) in 1945 by a British officer named Ralph Rayner. (RELATED: YouTube Celebrity Made One Too Many Hitler References For Disney)
“My father didn’t see it as a relic of Hitler’s glory days, more a battered remnant of his defeat, a sort of war trophy,” Ranulf Rayner, the 82-year-old son of Ralph, told CNN. “He never thought it would become an important artifact.”
Although the winning bid wasn’t quite as high as Ranulf thought it would be, he is rather pleased the Nazi relic is out of his hands..
“I certainly won’t miss it. It’s a fairly sinister bit of kit and I’ve always lived in fear of someone trying to steal it. I’ve also been told it’ll bring me bad luck,” Ranulf told CNN.
Aside from the Soviets, it is believed that Rayner was most likely the first on the victor’s side to gain access to Hitler’s official bunker.
“He could still smell burning flesh … a dreadful hellhole,” Ranulf said, recalling his father’s telling of the underground shelter.
While the top bidder is not yet known, Ranulf hopes that the phone will ultimately be featured in a museum as “to remind the world of the horrors of war.”
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