“‘The fury has something he wants to discuss
with me,’ said Father who was allowed to
interrupt Mother even if no one else was. ‘I just
got a phone call this afternoon. The only time
he can make it is Thursday evening and he’s
invited himself to dinner.’”
“A couple of days later he came home from
school to find Maria standing in his bedroom,
pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe
and packing them in four large wooden crates,
even the things he’d hidden at the back that
belonged to him and were nobody else’s
business, and that is where the story began.”
“. . . there were always so many
visitors to the house – men in
fantastic uniforms, women with
typewriters that he had to keep
his mucky hands off – and they
were always very polite to Father
and told each other that he was a
man to watch and that the Fury
had big things in mind for him.”
“When he first saw their new house Bruno’s
eyes opened wide, his mouth made the shape
of an O and his arms stretched out at his sides
once again. Everything about it seemed to be
the exact opposite of their old home and he
couldn’t believe that they were really going to
The house in Berlin had stood on a quiet street
and alongside it were a handful of other big
houses like his own, and it was always nice to
look at them because they were almost the
same as his house but not quite, and other
boys lived in them who he played with (if they
were friends) or steered clear of (if they were
trouble). The new house, however, stood all on
its own in an empty, desolate place and there
were no other houses anywhere to be seen,
which meant there would be no other families
around and no other boys to with, neither
friends nor trouble.”
“It was a bright, sunny day that first
afternoon at Out-With and the sun
reappeared from behind a cloud just as
Gretel looked through the window, but after a
moment her eyes adjusted and the sun
disappeared again and she saw exactly what
Bruno had been talking about.
To begin with, they weren’t children at all.
Not all of them, at least. There were small
boys and big boys, fathers and grandfathers.
Perhaps a few uncles too. And some of
those people who live on their own on
everybody’s road but don’t seem to have any
relatives at all. They were everyone.”
“And one final thought came into her
brother’s head as he watched the
hundreds of people in the distance
going about their business, and that
was the fact that all of them – the
small boys, the big boys, the fathers,
the grandfathers, the uncles, the
people that lived on their own on
everybody’s road but didn’t seem to
have any relatives at all – were
wearing the same clothes as each
other: a pair of grey striped pajamas
with a grey striped cap on their
“Bruno slowed down when he saw the dot that became a speck
that became a blob that became a figure that became a boy.
Although there was a fence separating them, he knew that you
could never be too careful with strangers and it was always best
to approach them with caution. So he continued to walk, and
before long they were facing each other.
‘Hello,’ said Bruno.
‘Hello,’ said the boy.
The boy was smaller than Bruno and was sitting on the ground
with a forlorn expression. He wore the same striped pajamas that
all the other people on that side of the fence wore, and a striped
cloth cap on his head. He wasn’t wearing any shoes or socks
and his feet were rather dirty. On his arm he wore a armband
with a star on it.”
“’Papa,’ said Shmuel. ‘We can’t find him.’
‘Cant’ find him? That’s very odd. You mean he’s lost?’
‘I suppose so,’ said Shmuel. ‘He was here on Monday
and then he went on work duty with some other men
and none of them have come back.’”
“‘Unless . . .’ he began , thinking about it for a moment
and allowing a plan to hatch in his head. He reached a
hand up to his head and felt where his hair used to be
but was now just stubble that hadn’t fully grown back.
‘Don’t you remember that you said I looked like you?’
he asked Shmuel. ‘Since I had my head shaved?’
‘Only fatter,’ conceded Shmuel.
‘Well if that’s the case,’ said Bruno, ‘and if I had a pair
of striped pajamas too, then I could come over on a
visit and no one would be any the wiser.’ . . .
‘And you could help me look for Papa,’ said Shmuel.
‘Why not?’ said Bruno. . . .”
Does Bruno go over to the other side to
What is it like at the house when Bruno
isn’t visiting his new friend?
Who is the Fury, what is Out-With, and
what is the important job that Bruno’s
father does there?