What is the key issue taken up & message conveyed in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is adapted from John Boyne's novel by the same name.  Both film and novel are haunting in their depiction of the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.  What is particularly disturbing about this story is that it focuses on the children.  One child, Bruno, is the son of a commandant in charge of a concentration camp; the other child, Shmuel, is a Jewish boy imprisoned in the camp.  What separates the two children is a fence.  The fence, established by the Nazis, is what keeps the two children from being equals and from playing together, but is does not prevent their friendship from developing.  When Bruno slips under the fence to be with his friend Shmuel and ultimately faces the same fate as the Jews in the camp, we realize, as does Bruno's mother, the absurdity of separating children by race or religion, the horror of attempting to eliminate innocent children, and the danger that all children face in such an evil environment.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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