The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Question: Why was Elsa so horrified about the killing? We don't know how much she knew. Let's assume she thought the camp was full of luxury. She still knew they were imprisoning people. We don't know whether or not she knew the people were innocent, but either way, it still doesn't make sense. If she knew they were innocent, why would she have no problem with the imprisonment, but be horrified when she learned they were killing them? I know killing is worse, but she acted like she thought her husband was an angel, and then all of a sudden realised he was a monster. If she thought they were destroying the country, it makes no sense that she was so devastated they were being killed. Many people are against the death penalty, but I don't think anyone cries over bad people being executed. I also wonder how much the grandmother knew. She seemed angry, but not horrified.


Answer: She represents what many people, including the wives of many Nazis, were during the time of the Holocaust: brainwashed. Many people during the time of Nazi Germany did not know what the camps truly were. They thought they were labor camps meant to keep Jews "under control" and "beneficial to society" as many thought they couldn't be trusted unless monitored. This shown in the movie where they show the "labor camps" as being resorts with swimming pools and cafes in the Nazi propaganda commercial. When she realises the camps are actually death camps; she is horrified for the reasons many others who supported Nazi Germany were horrified in real life. #1 They realised they were lied to and now have to question what they believed. #2 Many folks were afraid of Jews and did not trust them, but they did not think they were evil and deserving of death. This seems confusing in light of what we know now. However, at the time, many Germans including the wives of Nazis were brainwashed.

Question: Why wouldn't Shmuel escape? It would've been very easy. He could've done it the same way he let Bruno in.


Answer: Samuel knew the dangers of the camp and knew that trying to escape would result in death. He knows Bruno is likely to be allowed IN to the camp as he is a German and Germans are running the camp. Plus, if Shmuel did escape, where would he go? He's 8, on his own and alone in the woods.

Answer: Yes. The Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp site was a huge area consisting of 3 separate camps, of which Camp II (Birkenau) was the biggest and had the commandant office and SS housing right next to it. The camp commander lived either close to camp II in the small town of Brzezinka or camp I, called the main camp. There were several houses and farms around the area and the town of Oswiecim in between all three camps. There were also several dozen subcamps.


Factual error: At the end, When the Jews are in the gas chamber, Zyklon B is dropped in through a vent at the top. While this is correct and represents the method used by the SS, the results are not. In the film it is depicted that the victims are dead within minutes. While this is true to a degree, the actual effects took 15-20 minutes to actually kill. Yes some of the more infirm people will have died quickly but the entire chamber would not have died that quickly.

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More mistakes in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Bruno: We're not supposed to be friends, you and me. We're meant to be enemies. Did you know that?

More quotes from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Trivia: In the scenes inside the camp, the boys were both meant to be barefoot. However the actor who played Bruno's parents vetoed it, and thus the boys were allowed to wear shoes.

More trivia for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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