''The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas'' is a book by John Boyne about a young boy of nine named Bruno, who loved to play with his friends and go to school, among other fun things to do in Germany in the 1940s. Yeah, ''[[WorldWarII those]]'' [[NaziGermany 1940s]]. That is, until his father's job forces his family to move to Poland, particularly to an odd camp called "[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Out With]]", which consists of a small house with an odd fence beside it. His older sister, Gretel, informs him that it will only be 'for the foreseeable future", which she figures to be about two weeks.
However, things do not go as quickly as they'd hoped. So Bruno takes a look around and peers out a window to see what is beyond the fence. What he sees is, to him, amazing- so many people, old men, young men, boys of all ages, all wearing the same striped pyjamas! He asks Gretel about them, and finds out that they're called "Jews", which according to Gretel [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman aren't really people]].
Later on, Bruno decides to investigate for himself. While walking around, he meets a young boy about his age named Shmuel. After talking for a while, they forge an odd sort of a friendship, meeting as often as they can at the one spot on the fence.
It was adapted into a film in 2008.
!!Provides Examples Of:
* AdultFear: Considering it's a WWII story, ''fuck yes.''
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: The presence of an eight-year-old child in Auschwitz is unlikely but at least marginally possible (see RealityIsUnrealistic below), but Shmuel absolutely would not have been able to stroll up to the fence for chats. The first time he tried it would have gotten him shot.
** Bruno not even knowing ''who Hitler was'' is implausible to say the least.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Bruno's sister seemed to get swept up in the whole propaganda at first because she had a crush on a soldier, but then became truly passionate about it.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: The book depicts the Holocaust from a child's point of view.
* ComingOfAgeStory: [[spoiler:Averted.]]
* DeadlyGas: [[spoiler:At the climax, [[ForegoneConclusion obviously enough.]]]]
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: When Gretel gets rid of her dolls, she puts them in a large pile in the basement without clothing. The shot of the pile of naked doll bodies is obviously meant to evoke certain images.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:The book ends with Shmuel and Bruno being gassed in the "showers" and dying. And then there's the epilogue, where Bruno's father somehow figures out what happened to his son. Who's been missing ''for the past year''. Considering this takes place at Auschwitz, it's somewhat [[JustifiedTrope justified]]. But still, [[TearJerker *sniff*.]]]]
** The movie is not any better, as it has been modified such that [[spoiler:Bruno's parents do realize their son is missing and may be at the concentration camp. The father runs into the camp only to find that one of the gas chambers has already begun working. The mother finds Bruno's clothes outside the camp and completely breaks down in tears.]]
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Bruno's father, an SS officer, obviously loves his son, [[spoiler: and he totally breaks up when he (Bruno) dies in the gas chamber.]]
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Some slight changes but mostly true to the original work.
* HeroicBSOD: Bruno's mother, after finding out what was ''really'' going on in the camp right next to her house, is so horrified and disgusted with her husband that she seems to just stop caring anymore. She stops keeping her hair tidy, no longer wears makeup, and argues with her husband openly.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler:Bruno's father is the commandant of a concentration camp; his own son is killed in its gas chambers.]]
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler: this movie proves just how far an aversion can go.]]
* IronicEcho: Bruno sees a propaganda movie telling people how wonderful and happy the Jews are in their camps, and shows a clip of happy children dancing on stepping stones surrounded by singing dancing people. After entering the camp himself he finds the same stepping stones in the movie, and can't help but pause at the realization of how wrong the film was.
* LaserGuidedKarma:[[spoiler: After sending so many children to gas chambers, Bruno's father believes Bruno's death in the gas chamber to be this for him.]]
* NothingIsScarier: [[spoiler:As if Bruno and Shmuel's fate wasn't horrific enough, there's a chilling lack of detail, attributed mainly to its PG-13 rating. Immediately after the deadly gas infiltrates the chamber, the place goes dark and it cuts away. The final shot of the movie is a panning-away shot of the now silent chamber.]]
* OddCouple: Bruno, the son of a Nazi, and Shmuel, a Jewish child at a concentration camp.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Some reviewers of the film and book expressed disbelief that Shmuel would still be alive at the camp, given that Nazis would gas those who couldn't work first. However, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_in_the_Striped_Pyjamas_(film)#Reception statistics recovered from Auschwitz]] showed that up 600-700 boys around the ages of eight were registered to be alive at the camp during 1944-45.
* SayMyName: Ralf yells Bruno's name [[spoiler: just after the gas chamber he's in starts working.]]
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler:Bruno and Shmuel, though their relationship is platonic, not romantic.]]
* VillainousBSOD: [[spoiler: Once Bruno's father realizes what has happened to his son, he just completely gives up. It's stated that when the Soviets arrive to liberate the camp and arrest him, he doesn't struggle in the slightest.]]
* WhyCouldntYouBeDifferent: Nathalie's reaction to Ralf. Unusually for this trope, this attitude is portrayed positively, as Nathalie isn't upset at something minor, but rather the fact that her son is a Nazi.
* WideEyedIdealist: Played ''painfully'' straight.
-->'''Bruno:''' It's not fair, me being stuck over here all on my own while you're in there playing with friends all day.
-->'''Bruno:''' Well, isn't it part of a game with your number?
-->'''Schmuel:''' It's just my number.
* YouMonster: When Bruno's mother finds out what's ''really'' going on at the concentration camp she starts having frequent fights with her husband (the SS commander of the camp in question), at one point stating that she married a monster whose own mother couldn't even love him.
** Ralf's mother, Nathalie, herself. When her husband and daughter in law were proud of Ralf, Ralf's mother was horrified, questioning where she went wrong and pointing out the atrocities Ralf was participating in, as well as pointing out everything the Nazi uniform stood for.