John Boyne’s book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is based ona boy called Bruno, whose life is turned around when he must leave his friendsand grandparents in Berlin and move to a place called ‘out with,’ (Auschwitz)with his family because his father is an important high-ranking Nazi who getspromoted to be the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Bruno soon develops a hatred for one of his father’s soldier,a nineteen-year-old soldier called Lieutenant Kotler. Lieutenant Kotler was avery confident man who walked with pride and had a built-up body which Brunohoped for one day. Gretel Bruno’s older sister which he refers to as ‘TheHopeless Case’ soon develops a crush on him, and Bruno’s Mother Elsa forms anunlikely friendship with Kolter and probably has a likely affair with him.Bruno does not like Kotler as he refers to him as ‘Little Man’ instead of’young man’.
The quote suggests how Lieutenant Kotler came in and out ofthe house as though he owned it and that there was no one more of importancethan him: “Lieutenant Kotler always strode around in his black boots as ifthere was no one in the entire world of any more important than him.” P.95 Lieutenant Kotler hadpower over Maria the maid he made her feel intimidated, Maria was submissiveshe obeyed to everything she was told to do considering she knew if she didn’tthe consequences she would have to face were far more worse like living in aconcentration camp. The quote shows the influence Lieutenant Kotler had onMaria when he walked past her, as the quote mentions: “Maria stood up verystraight when Lieutenant Kotler appeared, she held her hands before her like aperson in prayer, she had stared down at the ground rather than at his face asif she was afraid she might turn to stone if she looked directly at him. Sheonly relaxed when he was gone.” P.18 This made Bruno very confused whichshows he is naïve because he doesn’t understand what is right in front of him. One day Bruno decided to make a swing as he had no friends atthe new house and was forbidden to play with the ‘Pyjama People’ as he thoughtthey were weird, he had seen these strange looking people through the window ofhis room which was then covered up after Bruno’s Mother Elsa found out.
Brunoattached a rope to a tree using a tyre he asked Lieutenant Kotler if he had anyspare tyres around he replied with yes and told Pavel to get it, but Brunodidn’t expect Kotler to be so rude, which shows how innocent Bruno was: “Hey, you!” Kotlershouted, at Pavel then adding a word that Bruno did not understand. “Come hereyou- He said the word again, andsomething about the harsh sound of it made Bruno look away and feel ashamed tobe part of this all.” P.75 This quote shows how rude Lieutenant Kotler was and how hehad no respect for people older than him, but Bruno did not understand, thismade him very confused as he did not know that Pavel was a Jew.
Bruno thoughtthat Lieutenant Kotler was unkind to Pavel, unkinder than Father was to Maria,which he mentions her as ‘the overpaid maid’.The German soldier also beats up Pavel for accidentallydropping the wine bottle all over him: “Pavel lost grip of the wine bottle, andit spilt all over Lieutenant Kotler. What happened next was extremelyunpleasant and unexpected. Lieutenant Kotler grew very angry and no one stoppedhim from doing what he did next.
It made Bruno cry and Gretel grow pale.”P.148 Lieutenant Kotler beat up Pavel until he was lifeless. Nobody couldstop Lieutenant Kotler from this heartless act as it would mean that they weregoing against the Nazis.
This Quote suggests that Kotler has mood swings.Bruno doesn’t understand why Lieutenant Kotler was sodiscourteous towards the Jews and how he had no heart which Bruno saw with hisvery own eyes one day, he saw Kotler go over to a dog and shoot it as it wasbarking loudly. P.162 Bruno soon develops a forbidden friendship between a Jewafter he remembers that he loved to explore, but his mother would not let himgo past the garden gate, as she knew the risks. So, one day while she was outshopping Bruno thought it would be an interesting adventure, but he soon comesacross A wired fence which led to the ‘Pyjama People’ which Bruno saw from thewindow of his bedroom, where he meets a boy who turned out to be the same ageas him. Bruno and the boy whose name is Shmuel form a rare friendship betweeneach other.
Bruno tries to visit Shmuel as much as he can without gettingcaught, and brought him food occasionally, which Bruno did not understand whyhis friend was always so hungry which again shows how legitimate Bruno was.One day Shmuel is asked to come to the house and polish someglasses for a party, Bruno is overjoyed and offers Shmuel some food which takesa wrong turn after Lieutenant Kotler shows up:”Did you steal something from the fridge?” Kotlerasked Shmuel “Answer me!” Kotler shouted, “No sir, he gave it tome” Shmuel replied, “He’s my friend” “Your…?”P.
171 began Kotler, not wanting to believe what Shmuel had just said, as itwas forbidden for the Jews to interact with the Germans. Kotler was crueltowards Shmuel when he found out that Bruno befriended him. Kotler beat upShmuel after catching him eating food which Bruno offered him but denied whenLieutenant Kotler had confronted him. Regret soon washed over Bruno the nexttime he saw Shmuel, he saw how vulnerable Shmuel could be with all the bruisesLieutenant Kotler had left.
The boy in the Striped Pyjamas shows the unlikely bond offriendship between a Jew and a German which takes a drastic turn when Brunodecides to join Shmuel on the other side of the fence which results in thedeath of both boys. Lieutenant Kotler was a condescending bully towards boththe Jews and Bruno. The nineteen-year-old Lieutenant soon loses his job as asoldier later in the book after the fury and Bruno’s Father the Kommandant findout that his father was a Jew. Kotler is then transferred someplace else.This book explains how Hitler brain-washed a lot of childrenfrom a very young age, including Lieutenant Kotler.
He would divide the Jews,from the Germans, they would be transferred to different schools, the Jews werenot allowed to study, with the Germans. The German children were taught aboutJews, and how they shouldn’t mix with them. The children were also taught aboutwar and Hitler, and that he was a good person.When the children were old enough,they would start to get ready for the WW2 which started in 1939 and ended in1945, they were teenagers now and believed that Hitler was right as they hadbeen learning about him from a very young age, at propaganda camps.
Hitler madethe teenagers turn against their own parents, and family members and they wouldbe killed. Hitler was determined to makeGermany a pureblood country, with no Jews, as they were to blame for the lossof the WW1 which lasted from July 1914 to November 1918. The teenage Germanswould be given their military uniform which was brown, so they would look likesoldiers. Which shows how Kotler was made a Lieutenant which refers to someoneoften second in command after the Kommandant.