set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

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Why is Herr Liszt significant in Chapter 9 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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I think that one particular quote that reflects why Herr Liszt is significant is his repeated stress on "the fatherland."  For Herr Liszt, educational instruction is geared towards propping up the Nazi Regime.  When he speaks to the children of “all the great wrongs that have been done,” his motivation becomes clear.  Herr Liszt is significant because he is meant to provide the justification behind why what is happening in Germany is happening.  

Herr Liszt's significance rests in this support of the Nazi regime. Virtually each of his lessons about "the fatherland" acquires significance because it seeks to justify that which is unjustifiable. His instruction to the children is based in substantiating Nazi actions.  Part of Bruno's intense questioning arises in why the world is the way it is.  This is not a moralistic quest.  Rather, it seeks to figure out why he had to move from his home in Berlin and why the "pajama people" are the way they are.  In a way, Herr Liszt's significance is that he provides a belief and value system merged into historical teaching that explains such a condition.  In Herr Lizst, Bruno begins to understand what history means.  Yet, rather than accept the Nazi ideology that Herr Liszt teaches, Bruno personalizes it.  He makes it his own and seeks to construct his own narrative as opposed to the standard one that Herr Liszt wishes to teach to the children.

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