smallswingshoes asked:

What exactly is "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas"? I keep hearing about it and how it's total crap, but never much beyond that. Is it a film? (I'm always nervous to google these things because I'm always worried it'll end up being something awful, y'know?)

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a book AND a movie that depicts a goyische kid who is a child of the commandant at Auschwitz WHO SOMEHOW DOESN’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING. He befriends a Jewish child through a fence, crawls under it (as if getting in and out of Auschwitz were that simple) and somehow manages to die along with him. It’s well-intentioned garbage that does a lot more harm than good. 

Really the best takedown I’ve seen is here. 


But it’s only a fable, a story, and stories don’t have to be factually accurate. It’s just a naive little boy who makes mistaken assumptions. However that misses the point. This is a story that is supposed to convey truths about one of the most horrendous eras of history. It is meant to lead us to judgments about these events that will determine what lessons we ultimately learn from them.
So what will the students studying this as required reading take away from it? The camps certainly weren’t that bad if youngsters like Shmuley, Bruno’s friend, were able to walk about freely, have clandestine meetings at a fence (non-electrified, it appears) which even allows for crawling underneath it, never reveals the constant presence of death, and survives without being forced into full-time labor. And as for those people in the striped pajamas – why if you only saw them from a distance you would never know these weren’t happy masqueraders!
My Auschwitz friend read the book at my urging. He wept, and begged me tell everyone that this book is not just a lie and not just a fairytale, but a profanation. No one may dare alter the truths of the Holocaust, no matter how noble his motives.
The Holocaust is simply too grim a subject for Grimm fairytales.


The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (Mark Herman, 2008)

Shmuel: I wish you’d remembered the chocolate.

Bruno: Yes, I’m sorry. I know! Perhaps you can come and have supper with us sometime.

Shmuel: I can’t, can I? Because of this.

[points the electric fence] 

Bruno: But that’s to stop the animals getting out, isn’t it? 

Shmuel: Animals? No, it’s to stop people getting out.

Bruno: Are you not allowed out? Why? What have you done?

Shmuel: I’m a Jew.