The main character, Bruno, comes home from school in Berlin. When he goes into his room, he finds his maid named Maria packing his clothes to move in Poland due to his father getting a promotion.
When Bruno gets to his new room in his new home, he notices something outside from his window. What he notices is a camp with people wearing striped pajamas. This is actually a concentration camp for Jewish people in the Holocaust
Due to his boredom and his need for a friend, Bruno decides to go to the camp he seen from his window. When he gets there he meets this boy in "striped pajamas" named Shmuel. They become friends after having a conversation about each other.
After Bruno tells Shmuel that he's moving back to Berlin, they agree for Bruno to help Shmuel to find his father. So, Bruno changes into clothes like Shmuel's and goes to the other side of the fence to go into the camp.
Bruno and Shmuel march with the other Jews to another room in the camp. Turns out, that they have walked into a gas chamber. They say that they love each other.
Bruno and Shmuel die in the gas chamber. Bruno's sister, Gretel, and their mother stay for a few months for news about Bruno. Also, his father stays at their house for another year to also get news about Bruno. After this , the story ends in one of the saddest ways possible.