The phone will be sold by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, and is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. It was taken from Hitler’s bunker shortly after his death by Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner, who died in 1977; his son Ranulf inherited the phone. According to the auction listing, Rayner was given the phone by Russian officers:
Very likely the first non-Soviet victor to enter the city, Rayner went to the Chancellery where Russian officers offered him a tour. On entering Hitler’s private quarters, Rayner was first offered Eva Braun’s telephone, but politely declined claiming that his favorite color was red. His Russian hosts were pleased to hand him a red telephone – the telephone offered here.
The listing goes on to note the phone’s uniquely horrific history:
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…with effects that still menacingly reverberate today. Read the rest of this entry »
French say accord must include transparency on Tehran’s future nuclear activities
LAUSANNE, Switzerland— Laurence Norman reports: Several European foreign ministers arrived in Switzerland for nuclear talks with Iran on Saturday, with Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying the negotiations were now entering the endgame.
Officials said it remained unclear, however, if Iran and the six-power group with which it negotiates would be able to meet a March 31 deadline to reach a political understanding on the main parameters of a nuclear deal.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had already held two days of talks in this Swiss lakeside city with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other top officials. A senior U.S. official described those talks on Friday as tough and very serious.
“Sanctions, pressure and an agreement do not go together.”
—Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Saturday, after meeting with his French and German counterparts.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Mr. Steinmeier and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also arrived here on Saturday, as the two sides made a final 72 hour push to advance the talks.
Failure to reach a political deal on time would pile pressure on the Obama administration in Washington, where lawmakers from both parties have threatened to advance legislation increasing sanctions on Iran, when Congress returns from recess. Such a situation could trigger a major crisis in the diplomatic efforts.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Friday that any political deal may simply be a political statement with a narrative about the main points. Mr. Hammond suggested meeting the March 31 deadline could be challenging and said the current congressional break gave the negotiators some extra leeway to seal a political deal.
A final, detailed nuclear agreement is due to be sealed by June 30.
“The discussions have been long, difficult. We advance on some points and on other points not enough.”
—French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday
Speaking to reporters on Saturday outside the luxury hotel where the talks are taking place, Mr. Fabius said: “I come here with the wish to advance towards a robust accord.”
“The discussions have been long, difficult. We advance on some points and on other points not enough,” he added.
Mr. Fabius said that what is very important is the transparency Iran agrees to for overseeing its nuclear activities and the “controls, to be sure that the commitments made are respected.”
Germany’s Mr. Steinmeier struck a brighter tone as he headed into an afternoon of meetings with Mr. Kerry, Mr. Fabius and Iran’s Mr. Zarif. He said that after 12 years of nuclear talks with Iran, negotiations have entered the endgame. However, he said the final steps to be taken “are the most difficult but also the decisive ones.”
“I can only hope that given what we have achieved in the last 12 months that we don’t cease to try and reach a final agreement. The last 12 months have shown that there is serious willingness on all sides to negotiate,” he said.
Mr. Fabius has adopted a strong line in the Iran talks in recent weeks, with France appearing at odds with the U.S., at times, over what a final nuclear agreement must contain. Read the rest of this entry »
Large Convoys Reported to be Moving Into the Region
BRUSSELS—Naftali Bendavid reports: Russia has sent convoys of tanks, howitzers and other weaponry along with troops into eastern Ukraine in recent days, possibly aiming to consolidate separatist enclaves there in preparation for a long-term standoff, Western observers say.
The new incursions represent a sharp increase in Russia’s presence in the region, posing a significant new challenge to the peace plan signed in early September in Minsk, Belarus.
“This is a severe threat to the cease-fire,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “Any attempt by separatist forces to seize more territory in eastern Ukraine would be another blatant violation of the Minsk agreement.”
The flow “includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defense systems and troops,” he said.
‘We…are again at a point in which we can’t say for sure how this conflict will proceed.’
—German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
In addition, international monitors in the region said that the Russian-backed rebels have been gaining territory, and that the mission’s surveillance drones have been shot at and jammed.
‘While our aim is to try to work to consolidate the cease-fire, it is more on paper.’
—Lamberto Zannier, OSCE secretary-general
Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the allegations of a military presence—troops or weaponry—in Ukraine, calling them, like previous ones, “regular concussions of the Brussels air.”
Since the cease-fire was reached between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists on Sept. 5—under Russian auspices—the two sides have regularly accused each other of violations. Hundreds of deaths of fighters and civilians have been recorded since then. Read the rest of this entry »
How the Ukraine Crisis Is Stoking Fears of War in Europe
By SPIEGEL Staff: These days, Heinz Otto Fausten, a 94-year-old retired high school principal from Sinzig, Germany, can’t bear to watch the news about Ukraine. Whenever he sees images of tanks on TV, he grabs the remote and switches channels. “I don’t want to be subjected to these images,” he says. “I can’t bear it.”
“As of last week, the lunacy of a war is no longer inconceivable.”
When he was deployed as a soldier in the Ukraine, in 1943, Fausten was struck by grenade shrapnel in the hollow of his knee, just outside Kiev, and lost his right leg. The German presence in Ukraine at the time was, of course, part of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. But, even so, Fausten didn’t think he would ever again witness scenes from Ukraine hinting at the potential outbreak of war.
For anyone watching the news, these recent images, and the links between them, are hard to ignore. In eastern Ukraine, government troops could be seen battling separatists; burning barricades gave the impression of an impending civil war. On Wednesday, Russian long-range bombers entered into Dutch airspace — it wasn’t the first time something like that had happened, but now it felt like a warning to the West. Don’t be so sure of yourselves, the message seemed to be, conjuring up the possibility of a larger war.
‘A Phase of Escalation’
Many Europeans are currently rattled by that very possibility — the frightening chance that a civil war in Ukraine could expand like brushfire into a war between Russia and NATO. Hopes that Russian President Vladimir Putin would limit his actions to the Crimean peninsula have proved to be illusory — he is now grasping at eastern Ukraine and continues to make the West look foolish. Efforts at diplomacy have so far failed and Putin appears to have no fear of the economic losses that Western sanctions could bring. As of last week, the lunacy of a war is no longer inconceivable. Read the rest of this entry »