Shmuel

Serious differences

Shmuel is an important character in the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. He is a Polish Jew about nine years old who was brought to the “Out-With” camp and is now forced to live there. Like all the inmates, he wears the striped prisoners' clothing, an armband with a Jewish star sewn on it, and a cap. He has no shoes or socks. Shmuel's head has been shaved bald. He is extremely underweight because he does not receive enough food in the camp. Due to this unhealthy lifestyle, his skin is gray.

Shmuel's entire family, that is, his mother, his father, his brother Josef as well as his grandfather, were brought to the camp. His mother previously worked as a teacher and speaks several languages. His father is a watchmaker and had his own workshop. Before he and his family came to Out-With, they had been forcibly relocated to Krakow. From there they were brought to Out-With in an overcrowded train car without windows and doors.

Shmuel is always very sad. Unhappy and alone, he sits cross-legged by the fence of the concentration camp. He goes there to have peace from the other camp inmates, with whom there are often arguments. The spot by the fence is his secret retreat. One day Bruno comes to the fence and speaks to him. From then on, Shmuel regularly meets with Bruno at the fence. During their first conversation, they notice some similarities. They have the same birthday, for example. The boys also tell each oth...

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