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.
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.
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.