The personal telephone Adolf Hitler used to send millions of people to their deaths has sold for £161,000 at auction.
The red phone, which has Adolf Hitler engraved on it, was recovered from the Fuhrerbunker, Berlin, by Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner in May 1945.
It had been expected to fetch up to £400,000, when it was sold over the weekend.
The Siemens phone also has a swastika and NSDAP eagle inscribed above Hitler’s name and is “unequaled in historic importance”.
The relic was passed down from Brigadier Rayner to his son, Ranulf Rayner - a retired army major.
The Brigadier was ordered to establish contact with the Russians in Berlin and went to the Chancellery, who gave him a tour.
He was then offered Eva Braun’s phone on entering Hitler’s private quarters, which he declined because he “preferred the colour red”.
The Russians then handed him Hitler’s iconic telephone.
Brigadier Rayner, the first non-Soviet victor to enter Berlin after the War, died in 1977 and his son decided to auction the phone with Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland.
Ranulf said he hoped the device will be displayed as a reminder of the terrible crimes carried out by the Nazis by whoever bought it.
Admitting he had struggled to find an auction house willing to take the item in the UK, Ranulf told The Times: “It’s quite possibly the most sinister relic of the Second World War.”
Speaking to The Sun, he added: “This was Hitler’s personal instrument of death. He would have used it extensively to scream brutal orders to those running the concentration camps, to his generals on the battlefield and everything and everything in between.
“I have discovered several eyewitness accounts telling how one of the last calls Hitler made on it was to order that his new brother-in-law General Hermann Fegelein, was to be shot for treason.”
Sotheby’s and Christie’s have a policy of not dealing in Nazi memorabilia and the phone was rejected by British Museums, including the Imperial War Museum.
A spokesperson for Alexander Historical Auctions said: “This was not a staid office telephone used to solicit contributions to the party, or to answer polite calls at the Berghof.
“This was Hitler’s mobile device of destruction, used in vehicles, trains, his field headquarters, at the Wolf’s Lair and in the last desperate days deep beneath Berlin.
“While Hitler vehicles, tunics, accessories, tableware, and other personal items are readily available, an item of this importance with such solid provenance is offered perhaps once in a lifetime.
“It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history to annihilate countless innocents, lay waste to hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and in the end, destroy his own country and people.”