The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

By John Boyne

Bruno, a nine year old boy, is living in the 1940's with his family when he moves from a spacious home in Berlin to a small house next to Auschwitz, or "Out-With" as Bruno thinks it's called. His father is a Nazi with a close connection to the Führer, or Hitler. When Bruno is out exploring and meets a boy 'in striped pajamas' on the other side of the fence, he strikes a friendship with him, unknowing of the dangers Shmuel, his new companion, goes through each day.


The theme of this story is innocence. Bruno does not know about the horrors of Auschwitz, or why the Jews are different from him. He doesn't know that his father is a killer, or why he has to lie about their Jew slave helping him. He thinks Shmuel is just a forbidden friend, but for what he does not know. His innocence is eventually what leads him underneath the fence...

History v.s Story

In the real Auschwitz, the prisoners also wore the "striped pajamas" which were a way of putting the Jews to shame because they were not good enough to wear real clothes.