Bruno, an eight year old boy at the time of the war, is completely oblivious to the atrocities of the war around him - even with a father who is a Nazi commandant. The title of the book is evidence to this - Bruno perceives the concentration camp uniforms as "striped pajamas." Further evidence is the misnomers "the Fury," (the Furher) and "Out-With" (Auschwitz). Bruno and Shmuel, the boy he meets from Auschwitz, share a great deal in common but perhaps what is most striking is the childhood innocence which characterizes both boys. Bruno is unaware that his father is a Nazi commandant and that his home is on ther periphery of Auschwitz. Shmuel, imprisoned in the camp, seems not to understand the severity of his situation. When his father goes missing, Shmuel does not understand that he has gone to the gas chamber.
This film presents a child's point of view of the Holocaust and serves as a valuable supplement for any study of Germany's effort to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The relationship between the two boys demonstrates the absurdity of judgments based on blood line. The innocence of childhood is a concept which dominates the movie and supports a perspective on the Holocaust that is important for a full understanding of German atrocities during the Second World War.
Social Studies Classes: "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is one of many films designed to make the Holocaust personal for today's students. It is not intended to reflect historical accuracy. Instead, it illuminates the following points about the events of the European theatre in WWII:
ELA classes may want to deal with "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" as a work of art in itself and some teachers may want to assign students to read the book from which the film has been adapted. The following topics may be assigned for written work and oral presentations:
"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is a historical fiction book about a family that has to move away from Berlin to a house near a concentration camp, where Bruno's father works. Bruno, the nine-year-old boy of the family, notices a "farm" outside his window. This farm is actually the concentration camp, Auschwitz. Bruno eventually befriends Shmuel, who is a Jew in the concentration camp.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Study Guide | GradeSaver
This well-meaning book ends up distorting the Holocaust.
2012: An essay on Othello that got 20/20 at Sydney Boys High School