Prisoner B-3087

Alan Gratz

Page 1

The Truth About Concentration Camps

Time and Setting

The novel Prisoner B-3087 takes place in the 1930s in Poland.

Plot of Prisoner B-3087

At the beginning, 10 year old Yanek Gruener and his family are living happily in Krakow, Poland where around them they live with other Jews. Then, next thing he knows, his school, movie theater, and library are taken from him and other Jews, they are given a curfew and are labeled with bands pictured with the Star of David. In the middle, Yanek learns that while his parents are working, they are taken away to a concentration camp, as most of his other family was, until, one day, HE was taken away on a work detail. Yanek was taken to ten different concentration camps, watching others brutally beaten to death, shot, or hung, standing by, knowing he couldn't do anything about it, or he would be the next. He learned to make no friends, faced death as he knew it, survived the Death March, and was part of his family to make it, he had won.

Main Characters

The main characters include:

  1. *Yanek Gruener is the main character in the story, surviving in 10 Concentration camps.
  2. *Mina Gruener is Yanek's mother, she looks at the bright side of most situations.
  3. *Oskar Gruener is the Father of Yanek Gruener, and is a role model to Yanek.
  4. *Uncle Moshe is Yanek's uncle, and can be a downer in some parts of the story, especially about the Germans.
  5. *Uncle Abraham is Yanek's uncle as well, and the Germans allowed him to own a bakery even though he is a Jew, because it feeds them.

Supporting Characters

  1. *Hitler, as most know, led the campaign to kill the Jews.
  2. *German soldiers keep the Jews in the ghetto they live in, and kill Jews if they "disobey".
  3. *Fred is a friend Yanek makes in one of the concentration camps, sadly, Fred gets sick and is killed.
  4. *Amon Goeth is the leader of the first concentration camp Yanek went to. He is a cruel leader, and kills most Jews for fun.


%Death March was the march where the Jews walked to a different concentration camp.

%Survived in the ghetto by hiding in a pigeon coop.

%He survived death in a gas chamber.

Character/Event Key

* Means that the characters were real

# Means that the characters are fictitious

%Real events

$Fake events

Page 2

Death March

The Death March was the march from Auschwitz Concentration Camp to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. This was actually a good sign to the Jews because this meant they had to walk, so the Germans were using all their trains (their transport) to fight the Americans and Russians. It wasn't good for the Jews though because it meant that they had to walk there. The Jews were only given one piece of bread for the whole trip, but some people would leave bread outside their doors for the Jews to come and get. If Jews would fall back in the line, they were shot on sight by the Germans. The Jews had to make their own heat, because it was snowing. They often made a dog pile to keep warm, while the Germans made fire and got the easy life. Many Jews on this trip died because they didn't ration their food, were too cold, or didn't have enough water. In the story, Yanek helped a boy his age survive by carrying him through the walk, and while he was carrying the boy his bread was stolen. He got a tiny bit more bread from the kapo, but he was lucky to get that.

Simile in Prisoner B-3087

Like schoolyard bullies, they wanted to provoke us, and then they would beat us as punishment.

I found this on page number 108. This is comparing the kapos to schoolyard bullies.

Metaphor in Prisoner B-3087

My stomach was squeezing itself into a hard knot of fear.

I found this on page 85. This is comparing his stomach to a hard knot of fear.

Hyperbole and personification

Hyperbole- They are going to turn you into soap, Jews! I know this is a hyperbole because they don't make them into soap, they just kill them. I found this on page 117.

Personification- The rock tore and scraped my skin as I cradled it to my chest and staggered across the yard to dump it in the new pile. I found this on page 106. I know this is a personification because a rock can not tear and scrape at someone's skin.

5 new Vocabulary word definitions

Riddling- to pierce with numerous holes

Kapo- A prisoner privileged enough to serve as a barracks guard

Ragged- Harsh; rasping

Grizzled- Having or streaked with gray hair

Gaunt- Very thin especially from disease, hunger, or cold


The officer was riddling the captives, for they had tried to escape.

The kapo beat the prisoner for talking in the barracks.

The man in the bed under me breathed ragged, short breaths.

The mad who talked had a grizzled, small mustache.

All the prisoners were gaunt people who could hardly stand any longer.