The Boy in The Striped Pajamas simplifies the complex reactions of millions of people to the Holocaust. It has been criticized for being unrealistic but Bruno, in his innocence, makes it obvious that for all the differences between the Jewish people and the Nazis, at the time, there are striking similarities. Two young boys, anxious to build a future as a zookeeper and a soldier, ultimately suffer the same fate and bring the Nazi philosophy crashing to the ground. Bruno ponders:
“What exactly was the difference? he wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”
Bruno's questions make the reality of the Holocaust even more poignant as the futility of it and the lack of logical reasoning or purpose are emphasized. It is the perceived differences between Jew and Nazi that bring these boys together and create "best friends for life."