A Boy in the striped pyjamas

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Bruno is a 9-year-old boy growing up during World War II in Berlin with his parents and his 12 year old sister named Gretel.  His father is a high-ranking  officer who, after a visit from Adolf Hitler, he got promoted to be a Commandant. It made the entire family to move away to a place called Out-With which turns out to be Auschwitz. When Bruno gets there, he feels sick after leaving behind his family, grandparents, and his 3 best friends for life.  He is unhappy with his new home. It only has three floors, there are always soldiers coming in and out of the house. Bruno is lonely and has no one to talk to or play with and the house is so small that there is no exploring to be done. However, one day while Bruno is looking out of his window he notices a group of people all wearing the same striped pyjamas  and striped hats or bald heads. Since he is a curious child, Bruno asks his sister who these people are, but she does not know. His father tells him that these people are not real people at all, as they are Jews.  There is also a soldier called Lieutenant Kurt Kotler who is violent in his ways to the Jewish prisoner, Pavel. Pavel works around the house and is always treated badly by Lieutenant Kotler. One day Bruno falls off his swing and Pavel helps him with the wound. Bruno asks if his mother should take him to a doctor, but he replyed saying that he is a doctor. Bruno finds out he is not allowed to explore the back of the house or its surroundings, but due to the combination of curiosity and boredom, he decides to explore. He spots a boy on the other side of the fence. Excited that there might be a boy his age, Bruno introduces himself and finds out Jewish boy’s name is Shmuel. He was taken from his family (his father came with him, his mother and his siblings are at home) and forced to work in Auschwitz. Almost every day, they meet at the same spot. Soon, they become best friends. Bruno and Shmuel even shared the same birthday. They are basically the same person born into different circumstances, one a Jew, the other a German. Bruno’s mother persuades his father to take them back to Berlin  after a year at their new home, while the father stays at Auschwitz. The story ends with Bruno about to go back to Berlin with his mother and sister on the orders of his father. As a final adventure, he agrees to dress in a set of striped pyjamas and go in under the fence to help Shmuel find his father, who went missing in the camp. The boys are unable to find him. Then the boys are mixed up in a group of people going on a march. Boys doesn’t   know where the march will lead. However, they are soon crowded into a gas chamber.

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Filed under anti-war novels, book → movie, Coming-of -age, Non-Fiction

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