a very interesting article with alot of excellent research.
just thought i’d point out that you used the word ‘providence’ when i think it should be ‘provenance’ ie the the history of the item, where it came from etc.
your english is very good and i hope you don’t mind me mentioning it.
This is clearly a fake…..I am one of the most prolific restorers of this model, I must have restored 500 of them, and know them inside out…points not mentioned was the disconect button,,,,its red, they only ever made them in cream…even the Capacitor is not ciorrcet it should be a 1uf, and it should be a W36 or a W38, this is a W48, which came out later, the parts dont even match, the handset cable is a UK one but the line cord is the correct age one for a W series phone.The dial is also wrong , it shows a late N24 dial with a dial lock mechanism, this was not ever on a 1939 phone as indicated on the capacitor, if I could see the phone I am sure I would find other items wrong with it.
Hi Alan, thank you for your views on this matter. I must point out a few things, though. The red button is an earthing button, not a disconnect button. Not sure if this one is really red. I have seen them in various colours, including an orange red, burgundy and even green.
The line cord is certainly not German. It has eyelets which is typically British for this period.
This phone cannot be a W48. There is W38 stamped on the base and please check the article for the production date of this phone, which is well before 1948.
The dial is not an N24. The N24 is quite different, with big lead weights on the governor. This dial is an NrS38.
Hallo, my name is Hendrik I live in Holland and I was a long time very close friend of Rochus Misch whom I know sins 1974 and I visited more than 50 times but I also was a friend of Otto Günche how explained to me the last days of Hitler in his Bunker. Both men were a long time very close [and loyal] to there ,,Chef,, and I am very curious about that so called ,,faded fax,, that Roches supposedly has send about a ,,red phone,, as he had no fax machine. I once became a old Siemens telephone from a friend from Austria as present [I still have it] with the number; FG. Tist. 0166 W T II and once I took it with me to Rochus, as he looked upon it he said ,,that’s looks familiar to me as the Führer used this model in his headquarters,, Everywere on his desk in the Reichskanzlei, Wolfsschanse, his special train, the Berghof, his house in Munich and the Führerbunker black Siemens telephones were used as you can see on the pictures, and if the Russians had really found a red telephone on his Bunker desk engraved wit a swastika and his name there would be only one men to give to and that had been Joseph Stalin and not a relatively unknown Englishman visiting the bunker at mitt May 1945… Think about that! But besides that there is way too much wrong with that so called ,,red Hitler phone,, to be real. I also have met with Pietro Guido, Erhard Schreier and Geoff Walden as well as a lot of other resurges and In all my 48 years of resurge on the third Reich, seeing a ton load of films and footage, reading all the books of his personnel aids and secretaries, as specially the Fuehrer bunker I cannot remember that ever somewhere was mention of Hitler using a ,,red telephone,, but let a sucker pay 400.000 for it, there is so much Hitler fake sold already, who cares.
Thank you very much for your additional information. I did have a look at that fax when writing my article. I could not find any mistake, although the picture of the original fax is very faded. Also it does not seem to show where the fax originated, as faxed often get stamped with the number it came from. The fax is not only faded, but vague and does not really mean anything. You do make a strong point with the information that mr Misch did not have a fax machine.
And indeed as you say, it is not very likely that, if real, it would have been presented to a relatively inknown officer instead of donated to Stalin himself.
I did not address all the questionmarks over this telephone, like why no advice was sought of telephone expert and why, as I read somewhere, it was offered to several museums but the turned it down. 🙂
And in the end it is sold by auction and if it really goes for so much money remains to be seen. I wonder if it sells at all, because there is probably a reserve on it.
The telephone you were given, an Fg Tist 166 is more commonly known as a Modell 36 (1936). W T 11 means it was made in Vienna, in November 1938. That makes it a nice and early specimen. You do not see these very often. Very nice.
Thanks, Doug. I heared about the extra photos. They also wrote an addendum to the description.
Although the information in the addendum is absute nonsense, I found the pictures very revealing.
I will add something to my blog later today.
I like to be a devils advocate here.
If you want to fake a nazi telephone, where would you put an eagle?
On a visible place on the front, or down behind?
2. note. Where is this thing about a fire inside the bunker? There exist american photo´s on the web from the bunker, taken may 1945, where the sofa AH and EB sat in, is shown. Same goes for other rooms. Floor is covered with water everywhere, but no signs of fire.
Telephones are present, both post office and army desk models.
3rd. If the Reich chancellery should need a telephone, I can easily imagine they would call the post office to get one. Who else would install a new telephone.
In those days, a technician would show up, plug it in, and make sure the connection worked. Even for ordinary people.
I believe it may have been painted red during WWII, and I think the engravings may be genuine. They are ecaxtly where you would place them if the telephone was on a desk in front of a senior party official. So a visitor could stare at them.
That is what makes me believe the telephone may be original.
The cord and handset is most likely the result of a postwar makeover in Britain. The story from 1963 claims the brigadeer tried to use it in the UK. That would explain why he had someone to work at it. And the only serious part is the base with the eagle. In 1963, it was still only an old german telephone with a odd marking. To repair it meant nothing. And a british handset could be explained this way. The locking function is an afterrationalisation.
The value issue came much later.
So, I would like to have such a red telephone, for fun, but if I wanted Hitlers telephone, I would much prefer the one in Kentucky. It may in fact even be seen on the american photo´s from the bunker.
Note 2 the bunker was partially burned. It is well documenten. There are lots of pictures taken right after the Soviets captured it where soot covered rooms can be seen. The fire went out because they closed the doors and there was not enoug oxigen.
Note 3 this red telephone was not from the chancelary. That phone, that was on Hitler’s desk, was a common W28. There are many pictures of it.
The one in Kentucky is also a W28. The one in the picture to which your link goes is a W38. They are not the same model, I’m afraid.
And that illustrates the problem with this telephone. You can find loads of pictures of Hitler’s telephones, but they are never of a W38. Almost always a W28.
Hallo, I just saw the so called ,,fax,, that my friend Rochus supposedly in 1985 has send as ,,proof,, for this red Telephone. There is no name under the fax and the text sais that this Telephone was used by ,,my vater,, …(as he worshipped Hitler)!?… Folks to set matter straight, Rochus Misch NEVER worshipped Hitler, he was not even a member of the Nazi party and never was a Nazi but someone how was for 5 years doing his job as a telephonist at Hitler headquarters. He was a conservative nationalist married with a social democrat whom was befriended with the former German Chancellor and social democrat Willy Brand how visited them in his home in Rudow. Rochus Misch had (as you can read in his book) a positive neutral view about the Third Reich, Eva Braun and Hitler as he called him a very good and friendly boss for his servants but he never denied the horrendous crimes how were committed under his command. He also politely denied presents from people that showed Hitler and never ever would called him his ,,vater,, but just spoke of him respectfully as the chef and I can assure you that this fax and this red telephone most certainly is crab and that Hitler never ever used it.
Good question. And why would a manufacturer, knowing it was for the great leader of your country, do such a bad job?
But the type number at the bottom shows Siemens & Halske made a standard version of their telephone and W38 shows it was supplied to the post office. So it was niet Siemens & Halske who supplied it to the end user (being HH or not), but the Reichspost! So if anyone had it painted red, it was the Reichspost.
Russia is a notorious center for fake Leica. They buy inexpensive screw mount Leica and paint and engrave them like military versions highly appreciated by collectors (the real ones are paid tens of thousand $$). The red phone is definitely a fake: the British handset say so.
Thanks, Gianfranco. This telephone in this condition has been in the family for decades, as several newspaper articles show. It was even mentioned in an article in der Spiegel in the 60s as being red. So it is not a modern forgery.
Hi Gianfranco, you mean the microphone and transmitter elements that go inside the handset? The were not photographed.
But as it is a British handset, they have different sizes from German ones. So German ones will not fit, normally.
Thank you for sharing your ideas on this matter. But there was a large hole in the side of this telephone, as the pictures show. This was repaired, after which it was painted. This repair is the main reason it is red: to cover up the damage.
If it was just the damage, the paint would have been black, and only on the base or portion of the base. There is a reason for the light, and for the color — to distinguish it from other, less important phones in the same area. We do that now. When the red phone rings, high command is calling to scramble the fighter planes, gun crews, etc. But the phone calling them might not be red.
And if it really were such an important leader’s personal telephone, I should think time constraints would likely have the phone replaced, or if time were not important, prestige considerations would have had at least the casing replaced, not merely repaired. Was Hitler that sentimental? I don’t know.
But one must admit that toward the last days of the war as the economy and everything else was grinding to a halt, such things might well have been done.
As for the handset, one might consider that Romnel used a captured British Dorchester Armored Command Vehicle. Likewise, it is at least plausible that the handset could have been a gift of a war prize if indeed the phone were that of someone high enough in rank.
Even being a novice telephone collector, I knew immediately that there were extreme issues. No way the Fuhrer would have been issued a painted piece of crap, not with the ease of ordering a red bakelight to the Fuhrer specifications. Ridiculous to even consider those weak stories and a faded fax legitimate provenance. Not just a fake but a bad fake.
Thanks for your article! I believe you make a strong & very well considered case for this phone to be fake. My suspicion before reading your post was that no Führer-fearing German, would dare to provide Hitler which this kind of crap. Although a lot has changed since WWII, a fact for which I’m eternally grateful, the culture of “Gründlichkeit” has always been enshrined in the German soul.
Thanks, Arwin. Looking forward to your further investigations. One should never discount that the provenance is indeed true, but I rather see the cold, hard facts. So far, I’m certainly not convinced it’s the real thing.
I think, if the red telephone was found in the bunker of the Reichskanzlei, it seems the wrong eagle. The Eagle of the state ( Reichsadler) was normaly looking leftside, only eagle of the party had the head right.
There are a number of issues with “Hitler’s Phone”; but, the thing that shouts as being fake is the engraving of the German Eagle. It was almost certainly hand-engraved off a copy of Hitler’s letter form; but, it is so poorly rendered, especially the body of the eagle, that if it were indeed assigned to Hitler they would have used a master engraver of whom there were no shortage during that period. In addition, ‘phones of that period were generally considered to be of utilitarian value and not subject to artifice.
Thank you Trevor, the quality of the eagle is indeed not fitting for a “great and revered leader”. Furthermore it is quite inappropriate if it was donated by the army, as it is the party eagle and not the state eagle.
Lack of quality is an overall theme, present in many aspects of this phone.
Special bespoke & ornate telephones were not uncommon in this period. The pope had a special bejeweled Phone, as did several kings.