The reader is introduced to Gretel, Bruno's sister. She is three years older than Bruno, which would make her twelve, and lets everyone know that she is in charge. Bruno is a little afraid of her. Her friends were equally unpleasant and made fun of Bruno's size (he is smaller than other boys his age). The only good thing about moving from Berlin is that her friends won't be around to torture him. Gretel loves her dolls and brought them with her because their father told her they would be there for the "foreseeable future", which Gretel understands to be about three weeks. Gretel tells Bruno that she agrees the house is disagreeable, and when he asks what "Out-With" is, she tells him it is the name of the house and it means "out with the people who lived here before us" (pg 25). They both agree they don't like it there, and that they miss their friends. Bruno says that the other children don't look friendly either. When Gretel asks what he means by that statement, Bruno realizes that her room faces in a different direction, and she cannot see the children. He walks back into his room and stares out the window. Gretel wants to look, but the way Bruno talked about the children makes her nervous. She finally looks out the window and sees the children. The problem was they weren't all children. They were people of varying ages. Gretel notices that they are all men, there are no women among them. The view from Bruno's window is described, and Gretel says,
"I don't understand.... Who would build such a nasty-looking place?" (pg 32)
Bruno agrees that it is nasty. Gretel has no explanation, so she finally comes to the conclusion that they must be living in the countryside. She explains to Bruno,
"...we learned in geography class that in the countryside, where all the farmers are and the animals, and they grow all the food, there are huge areas like this where people live and work and send all the food to feed us." (pg 33)
Bruno didn't agree because there were no animals and the ground wasn't prepared for crops. They both stare out the window at the vast number of people who seemed involved in a number of different activities. Bruno points to a group of children who are being yelled at by the soldiers. They notice that some of them are crying. Gretel says that she isn't interested in playing with these children because they are so filthy. Bruno agrees and thinks maybe they don't have baths. Gretel runs back to her room to "arrange her dolls", but she doesn't arrange her dolls, she just sits and thinks. Bruno stays in his room and watches the people. He notices that they are,
"....wearing the same clothes as each other: a pair of grey striped pajamas with a grey striped cap on their heads" (pg 38)
He thinks that is very extraordinary and strange.