The chapter opens with Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel, a middle-aged soldier. Rumpel is a talented jeweler as well as an official in the German army. During his time as a soldier, he’s used his influence to seize important jewelry and send it to the Third Reich in Berlin. Rumpel has heard rumors that the Führer is compiling a list of Europe’s greatest treasures. He’ll need the help of jewelers like Rumpel to track down the stones, test that they’re real, and polish them. Rumpel can’t wait to help his leader.
There was a good reason that the museum tried to smuggle the diamond out of Paris—indeed, part of the Nazi agenda involved collecting art and treasure from those who were conquered, arrested, or killed. Von Rumpel appears here as the major antagonist of the book, and also the least complex of Doerr’s main characters. He is in many ways a stereotypical Nazi—loyal to Hitler, coldly efficient, and totally ruthless and selfish.