Bruno was nine years old when the story began. He was a forthright and curios boy who loved to explore. One day, back from his school, back from another day with Karl, Martin, and Daniel – his friends of life – he found the family’s maid, Maria, was packing the things up, including his extra personal stuffs. He immediately went to protest to his mom about Maria. After a short talk with her mom, he found out they were moving from Berlin to a strange city that he did not know before. He complained, of course, but alas, it didn’t work.
Soon after they moved, Bruno, and his twelve year old sister, Gretel, were not comfortable at all. The new home was called Out-With and there were mysterious looking people in pyjamas. Bruno, being a little kid, was very confused about it. He remembered there were memories and clues of “A Fury” and his wife going for dinner with them.
One day, Bruno decided to go out and explore the garden of Out-With. There, in the backyard of his home, he met a Jewish called Shmeul who had the same birthday as Bruno. Bruno did not understand why Shmuel was wearing striped pyjamas. Both of them became best of friends, facing many problems. Meanwhile, Bruno’s grandma died because of old age. She had a fight with Bruno’s dad before they moved, on the night Bruno’s dad became a commander of the army. She told him he looked silly and they argued a lot until Bruno’s grandma left the house in Berlin.
In Out-With, Bruno and Gretel had head lice. They had their hair shaven off. Bruno proudly showed it to Shmeul. Shmeul told Bruno that Bruno looked just like him but he was fatter. Now, Bruno had forgotton most of his memories of Berlin. Many days had passed and Bruno received good news. He, “the hopeless case” (Bruno called Gretel that) and his Mom would move back to their old house in Berlin, but his dad stayed in the army. He directly went to tell Shmuel about it, but he received bad news from Shmuel. Shmuel’s father was missing, so Bruno decided to make up their last adventure.
Since Bruno looked like Shmuel after having hair shaven off, he wore striped pyjamas and sneaked below the fence that divided them. They went to find Shmuel’s father. They searched in vain. Shmuel’s father was missing as if swallowed by thin air. Then as Bruno was about to go home, there was a march. Bruno did not understand that they were led a very warm room which Bruno believed was a shelter. But it was actually a Gas Chamber. There, while holding hands with Shmuel, they met death.
The family members were confused in Bruno’s disappearance. But to them, Bruno’s death was a mystery. Little did they knew the truth.
The story was talking about racialism. About the Nazi and the Jewish. About the German people who wanted to destroy the human races. Millions of people died in that war. But why war? I think war is not necessary because it only results in more suffering. War is started by conflict between two (or more) countries/states and it ends in violence.
Beside that, war is also started by hatred. I think hatred is terrible. It creates misundertanding among people. The bridge of harmony wouldn’t be crossed at all. What I understand about racism is that of course people are different from outside… but they are actually the same in the inside. There is no superiority in races. People from different races are just different in looks, religions, and culture. We are all human beings in this planet.
I was told by my mom that the central idea of the story is about holocaust. Holocaust is “genocide” or the murder of the Jewish people. Before I read this book, I did not know the term of “genocide”. Now, I feel pity on Jewish people. People must realize their mistakes in the past. In my generation, I hope there is no such thing as holocaust or war anymore.
Racism is not allowed in my school. It would create an unnecessary fight between children and they would take sides. This prolonged condition might create a war in the future. I simply believe children are the next generation, so hatred should be eliminated from our mental mind since the every beginning.
The story is quite sad. As the Germany’s commander, Bruno’s father did not notice he killed his own son. He did not even notice that his son had befriended with his enemy. I imagine if the father knew all this, he would have resigned from his job and stayed with his family. But somehow, I think he woudn’t have felt sorry for himself.
The book is very serious but not so difficult for me. I am glad I finished the book because it brings symphaty in my heart.