Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Mark Sullivan

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

After delivering the young girl’s body to the house of her parents, Pino decides to take a trip to Casa Alpina to speak with Father Re. When he arrives at Casa Alpina, he sees that it’s been turned into a partisan camp. At first, the partisans don’t recognize Pino and they are suspicious of him. However, before long, Father Re comes out and assures them that Pino is welcome. After briefly catching up, Pino tells Father Re that his faith in humanity has never been lower because of the things he’s seen. In response, Father Re reminds Pino of all the good he has done. Even though Pino doesn’t see it on a daily basis, his actions have saved countless lives. Talking to Father Re makes Pino feel better and, after a while, he returns to Milan.
Pino is understandably distraught by the carnage he’s witnessed, much of which he’s been powerless to do anything about. There are no clear moral guideposts for him to follow, so he visits Father Re for assurance that he’s doing the right thing—or, at least, the closest one can get to the right thing under such circumstances.
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When Pino returns to Milan, Leyers asks Pino to take him to a train station. There, Pino spots Colonel Rauff and more Jewish people in boxcars. Many of the prisoners are crying out in fear, and one woman, in particular, repeatedly cries out that her daughter is sick. Leyers begins arguing with Rauff in German, so Pino doesn’t know what they are saying. At the end of the argument, Rauff opens up one of the boxcars and Leyers rescues four Jewish children, including the sick little girl. He takes them back to his car and asks them to repeat his name, so they know who rescued them. Then, he tells Pino to take them to Cardinal Schuster. Shocked by this turn of events, Pino does as he is told. Neither Pino nor the cardinal know what to think of Leyers.
For once, it seems Leyers took a principled stance against Rauff and won. He manages to rescue several Jewish children and gets Pino to take them to safety. However, it is unclear whether his actions are wholly unselfish. After all, he gets the children to repeat his name. He wants them to remember his name, probably so they can repeat it to Cardinal Schuster and the Allied forces. Previously, Leyers told Pino that he survives by trading favors, and this scene could be interpreted as an example of a favor that he expects something for in return.
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