How are evil and suffering portrayed in the film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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pearl1968 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The film The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas looks at the Jewish prison camp Auschwitz up-close, through the eyes of an innocent boy named Bruno, who just happens to be the son of the commanding German officer of the camp. He believes what his father says and the Nazi propaganda films about the camps and thinks that the Jews are merely separated from the rest of the population and that the camp is like being away at summer camp. The evil and suffering we see in the film is through the adults like Herr Liszt the tutor, Bruno's sister, and the other boy in the film, Shmuel. Shmuel, a young Jew, is suffering as a prisoner in the camp. At the end of the film Bruno dresses up in "pajamas" so he can sneak into the camp with Shmuel to help Shmuel look for his father who turned up missing. The pajamas as the prisoner's uniform represent suffering and the inhumane treatment of Jews and others as prisoners of war. It is a symbolic reminder of the atrocities that occurred during World War II. The curiosity and innocence of Bruno throughout the film, the friendship he cultivates with Shmuel, and the humanity it represents, make the ending and their demise especially difficult to watch. The Nazi war propaganda and lies about the treatment of the Jews is what killed him.