The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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The boy in the Striped Pajamas is a film with a WW11 setting. The drama explores horrors of extermination in German concentration camps. The movie is mainly based on two characters; one is a young boy called Bruno who lives in Berlin with his family and Shmuel a young Jew in a concentration camp.

Bruno's father is promoted after a visit by Adolf Hitler in their home, and he has to move to Auschwitz concentration camp to be the commander. The Camp was a concentration camp for Jews and had a long perimeter fence around it. Bruno is bored at his new home with nobody to play with, so during the day, he walks along this fence which runs far ahead to a place he cannot see. Inside the fence, he can see funny looking people who are always dressed in inmate uniform. Bruno does not know that those are uniforms for inmates and he thinks they are nice pajamas. While walking along the fence he meets a young boy, and they begin talking, soon their friendship grew, and they even realized they shared a birthday (Gray, 2014). Bruno thought he had found a really good friend and so he went on seeing him for about a week although he never let his parents know of his newly found friend. After some time in Auschwitz Bruno's mother could not take it anymore mainly because she missed her old friends and that Auschwitz was very boring with little to do. She asked her kids to pack, but Bruno decided that he had to go and see his friend before he left. Coincidentally, Bruno had developed lice, and his head had been shaven to get rid of the lice. He looked like Shmuel and when he went to say goodbye his friend was really sad to lose his new found buddy. He asked Bruno to help him trace his father who he had not seen for some time. Additionally he had brought a pair of extra inmate uniform which Bruno wore. (Marcus, 2017) After sneaking into the camp through a small entrance in the fence, the two boys wandered off into the camp in search of his father. They were arrested while walking there and taken to a room which had no windows and the door was locked. The boys did not know that this was a death trap. Kids who were below nine years of age and who could not provide manual labor were locked up there and poisonous gas released which meant no one left alive (Marcus, 2017) . Bruno despite his father being the commander of the camp suffered this cruel fate which Jew kids passed through. His father had looked for him for so long, and his mother always had hope that he would show up at their doorstep one day. He later saw his Sons clothes along the fence and the small entrance, and it was then that he realized what must have happened to his son.

This film shows us that Bruno's family is fragmented, his father is always at work in the camp and his mother is always busy with house chores and taking naps that they never notice the change in the behavior of their son who always goes out to meet his new found friend. The sad end of Bruno would have been avoided as he would have had someone to keep him busy or play with at home. Additionally, Bruno never seemed to know what was going on in his life, for instance when he asked his Mom why they had to move she simply said it was because his Dad had an important job ( Baker, 2013) . Also, he did not know what exactly his father did for a living. When he asked his father who those people were behind the fence, he was simply told that these were not people. If there were more transparency in his family, they would have known what Bruno does in his free time, and maybe he would have met a different fate.

Bruno is a very loving boy who must have got that trait from his mother. The film shows Bruno to be very caring and he never treats the house helps in a bad way (Baker, 2013). He also treats his friend Shmuel well despite him being a Jew. Bruno creates a friendship without looking so much into the background of Shmuel which shows that he is more interested in the bonds he creates than the differences he has with people around him. Bruno looks for trust and loyalty in people which are qualities found in people regardless of their status or race.

Freedom and confinement apply to both Bruno and Shmuel. Both are forced to be in places they did not want to go and are confined there, of course, there is the difference that Bruno was free while Shmuel was not (Gray, 2014). The young boys, however, struggle with loneliness and form a very tight friendship in their isolation. Sadly this friendship leads to their sad end, but it shows us the power of trust and friendship. Additionally, the film shows the evils of profiling. The concentration camp controlled by Bruno's father was built for Jews, but in the long run, it was the cause of Bruno, the son of the commander's death. If the camp was not built, Bruno would have met a different fate.


Baker, F. W. (2013). A View Through Barbed Wire:"" The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"". Screen Education, (69), 70-83.

Gray, M. (2014). The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A blessing or curse for Holocaust education, Holocaust Studies,? 20(3), 109-136.

Marcus, A. S. (2017). Teaching the Holocaust Through Film. Social Education,? 81(3), 169-173.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. (2018, Dec 17). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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