“All the Light We Cannot See,” a unique military drama on Netflix, is set in Saint-Malo during World military II and depicts several aspects of the fight that altered the path of history. Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig are the story’s protagonists, and their paths unexpectedly intersect. Without consciously trying to, Nazi officer Reinhold von Rumpel plays a significant part in their reconciliation. Although he embodies the archetypal villain, his motivations go beyond a simple allegiance to the Third Reich. Viewers are obliged to wonder if von Rumpel is genuine or made up, given that the show is a historical drama with real-world foundations. AHEAD OF SPOILERS
Reinhold von Rumpel is Based on the Nazi Officers Who Hunted Treasures for Hitler
Anthony Doerr invented the fictional character Reinhold von Rumpel for his book “All the Light We Cannot See,” which is the basis for the Netflix series. Although the show’s characters and stories are made up, the narrator drew inspiration for them from actual people and events. We presume that the Nazi commanders who pilfered paintings and gems among other treasures during the war may have influenced Reinhold von Rumpel’s goals and backstory, even though Doerr has never cited any specific historical figure as the inspiration for the character.
It is common knowledge that during World War II, the Nazis stole precious items, including artwork. Beginning with Jewish property in Germany in 1933, it spread to art galleries and museums as Germany invaded other nations, including France, where they looted everything from money and silver to art and precious stones to valuables. Hitler intended for this to happen, and it resulted in the devastation of libraries, art centres, and museums among other things.
Although the majority of people were taken aback, others anticipated this looting and, as a precaution, evacuated the artwork, smuggling it out before the enemy could obtain it. Even before the war, the Louvre was one of the locations that preserved its artwork by removing as much as possible. Hundreds of museums reportedly adopted this strategy and started removing the jewels from their locations. In retrospect, it was a very smart move for the curators of the galleries and museums to send the private art collections somewhere secure after they were treated in the same manner. Dozens of locations were destroyed during the war.
Doerr had visions of Saint-Malo, Marie, Werner, and the Sea of Flames when he began writing the book. The piece that was missing to connect them all was Reinhold von Rumpel. The author did a great deal of study before spending almost ten years writing the novel and perfecting the specifics. It is reasonable to presume that he must have heard tales about Nazi looting and the commanders assigned to oversee these operations, and used that information to construct von Rumpel.
Similar to the majority of other characters in the narrative, Doerr provided von Rumpel with a personality and drive apart from his status as a Nazi soldier. He was more interested in what the treasure he was searching for could do for him than in working for Hitler. Lars Eidinger seized the chance to give von Rumpel a more complex persona than just pure evil when he was cast for the part.
Speaking about his German identity, Eidinger stated: “I think that trauma that is directly inspired by our historical history affects all Germans. You are unable to defend yourself. It is imperative that you acknowledge that the Nazis are real and that they weren’t extraterrestrial beings. It’s critical to acknowledge that this movement sprang from democratic voting inside society. The actor was aware that von Rumpel was a villain, but he wanted the audience to be able to relate to the character and feel a sense of tension so they could recognise themselves in it rather than be able to separate from and criticise him. It’s more about self-judgment. In summary, Reinhold von Rumpel is a fictitious character that draws inspiration from real-life people and situations.
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