What is Lt. Kotler like in comparison to Pavel? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lieutenant Kotler is the typical Nazi leader in Auschwitz.  He carries himself in a manner where he views himself as infallible. He will never accept his own failure or shortcomings in anything.  Armed with Nazi ideology substantiating both who he is and in what he believes, Kotler abuses anyone who he sees as inferior. Adding to this is Gretel's crush on him, reflecting his own sense of ego and pride.  By contrast, Pavel knows that he is living on "borrowed time" to an extent. Pavel keeps his medical training a secret, instead willing to be seen as a servant.  Pavel understands that people like Kotler would be willing to use people like him as an example.  It is for this reason that he stays as discrete as possible.  He tries to not attract attention to himself, in contrast to Kotler who has no problem bringing more attention to both he and his position.  When Pavel stitches up Bruno, Pavel begs his mother not to say anything, recognizing clearly what the consequences could be if his training as a doctor comes to be known.  Pavel seeks to exist within the shadows of "Out- With" while Kotler enjoys the attention and power that comes with being a Lieutenant at the death camp.