The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas



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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
John Boyne

This holocaust novel explores loss, nationalism, anti-Semitism and the power of friendship across borders and fences. The readers follow nine-year-old Bruno, who lives with his parents and sister Gretel in Berlin in 1943. As Bruno’s father, who works as a commanding officer, gets promoted, his family moves to a new house in the middle of nowhere. His parents forbid Bruno to explore the nearby forest, but he does and discovers a fence he walks along. On the other side, he spots people in striped pyjamas and finally meets a boy, called Shmuel. Bruno struggles to understand what life is like on the other side, but the two become friends. One day, Bruno dresses up in striped pyjamas as well to explore Shmuel’s side of the fence and to help him to search for his father, whom he has not seen for several days…

This tragic historical fiction might serve as a starting point for an interdisciplinary teaching project with the subjects of History, Ethics and Social Science.


Critical edition

Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Random House, 2006. 265 pp., ISBN 9781909531192

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In favour of this entry

  • Award-winning
  • Beyond the US and the UK
  • Democratic and political education
  • Explores historical contexts
  • Interdisciplinary or cross-curricular teaching
  • Silenced voices
  • Students can identify with the text
  • User suggestion
  • Recommended by a federal state: Saxony-Anhalt

Adapted as

  • Audiobook
  • Film
  • Graphic novel