The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Questions and Answers
by John Boyne

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Is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas based on a true story?  

No, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not based on a true story. It is a work of historical fiction that takes place in Germany during the Holocaust. It has been criticized for containing several historical inaccuracies. In reality, the Nazis at Auschwitz immediately executed children like Shmuel who were unable to work, and the fence separating the boys would have been electric, preventing their interaction.

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John Boyne says that he had been a student of literature related to the Holocaust for many years. He had always been fascinated by the subject and had read many books himself about how it impacted individuals and the world. However, the entire story originated from an image in his head of two boys sitting and talking with only a fence (around a concentration camp) dividing them. From there, he began to form the rest of the story that would become The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. After writing the first draft, Boyne did some research to decide how faithful to history he wanted to be and examined the memoir that Rudolf Hoess wrote.

The story is a work of fiction that is based in the larger historical context of the suffering of the Holocaust but does not represent the actual story of two little boys. An interview is linked below where Boyne discusses the origins of the novel as well as his thoughts about how it has been transformed into film and a stage production.

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No, the 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is not based on a true story. John Boyne, an Irish author of ten novels for adults and five for young people, has called it a fable. He states that he was careful to change some details and never give the real name of the concentration camp, Auschwitz (the main character, Bruno, calls the place "Out-With"). Boyne has stated that he wanted younger readers to think about the fences that divide us. He has said that he wanted to inspire younger readers to tear down these metaphorical fences where ever they may find them.

The novel was made into a film, and both have...

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