The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- Comparing Bruno and Shmuel

Updated: 1/6/2021
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- Comparing Bruno and Shmuel
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Activities

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Lesson Plans by Becky Harvey

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the story of an innocent and ignorant boy whose father is the commandant of the concentration/death camp Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Poland during World War II. Though the book is written in third person/omniscient point of view, the author has Bruno use his unknowing voice, calling Auschwitz “Out-with”, and the Fuhrer (Adolf Hilter) “the Fury”, to show his true misunderstanding of all that is actually happening around him.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Storyboard Text

  • Both boys were forced to move from their beloved homes:Bruno from his home in Berlin when his father got a new position in the Nazi regime as Commandant of Auschwitz;Shmuel from his home in Poland when he was taken as a prisoner of war and put in a concentration camp.
  • April 1937
  • Bruno lives in relative opulence, with maids and servants.Shmuel lives in an overrun, filthy barrack overseen by cruel and vicious guards.
  • Both boys were born on April 15th, 1934, to loving parents.
  • Bruno was born in Nazi-ruled Germany to parents on the "right" side of Hitler's regime.Shmuel was born in Poland to Jewish parents.
  • Image Attributions:23072-Auschwitz ( - xiquinhosilva - License: Attribution (
  • Both boys are educated:Bruno has a private tutor who teaches him what the Nazi party deems appropriate;Shmuel is schooled and his mother teaches him foreign languages, as she herself was a teacher.
  • Bruno is completely ignorant with regards to the goings-on at the concentration camp at which he resides.Shmuel is keenly aware of the abuses, including starvation, beatings and murders.