In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, what is the relationship between Maria and Father?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno's father is a Nazi commandant. The family has to relocate to "Out-With" as Bruno's father has been appointed there. Maria, the cook and the butler have all gone with the family and Bruno tries to talk to Maria about how "desolate" the new house his. Bruno is unimpressed that they left his beloved home in Berlin, and in chapter 6 he is convinced Maria, as part of the "family" must feel the same way.

Bruno even suggests that his father is "stupid" to which Maria reacts, explaining that his father is "a very good man." She tells Bruno that her own mother knew Bruno's father when he was a small boy because Maria's mother worked for Bruno's grandmother as a dressmaker. Bruno listens attentively as  Maria continues to explain about her relationship with Bruno's father. She tells him that Maria's mother remained friends with Bruno's grandmother after retirement and also received a small pension and when Maria's family were in dire straits, Bruno's father gave Maria a job. He also paid for Maria's mother's medical bills when she got sick and so he will always hold a special place in Maria's heart. She mentions the "kindness in his heart" and she trails off when she ponders what he is a part of now. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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