Why must Bruno's father move away to do his job in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is set during World War II, and Bruno's father is a Nazi officer in Hitler's army. After Hitler and Eva Braun come to Bruno's house for dinner, Bruno's father is promoted to Commandant. This news gets a mixed reaction from Bruno's grandparents.

Bruno's grandfather says:

"It makes me so proud to see you elevated to such a responsible position. Helping your country reclaim her pride after all the great wrongs that were done to her."

Bruno's grandmother, on the other hand, is ashamed at what her son has become. She says:

"That's all you soldiers are interested in anyway.... Looking handsome in your fine uniforms. Dressing up and doing the terrible, terrible things you do. It makes me ashamed."

Bruno hears his grandparents' comments as well as the comments from others about his father's promotion, but he does not really know what to think so he just congratulates his father because it seems like the right thing to do.

One of the consequences of this promotion to Commandant is that Bruno's father changes jobs. He and his family must leave their comfortable home in Berlin and move to southern Poland, site of the Auschwitz prison camp. Though Bruno does not quite realize it, his father is the Nazi Commandant in charge of the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He has to move because he is obviously not able to do this job from his home in Berlin.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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