Bruno learns a lesson of the need to avoid discrimination through his interaction with Pavel. He thinks of Pavel only as a servant, someone whose menial function could not possibly embrace anything of medical science. Bruno learns from Pavel that when one judges anyone from external appearances, surprise results. When Bruno learns of Pavel's former life as a doctor, it enables him to fully understand that discrimination does not render the entire story about individuals. Bruno realizes that there is more to individuals than what discrimination could reveal.
There is a reflection that Bruno undergoes when Pavel tells him the truth about him being a doctor. This becomes a "teachable moment" for Bruno. He learns a great deal about both himself and Pavel when he realizes that people might be more than they are perceived to be. It is here in which the theme of discrimination and seeking to overcome it is part of the exchange between Bruno and Pavel. This exchange helps to illuminate the idea of the need for individuals to transcend discrimination in order to avoid historical realities such as the Holocaust.