Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A Fable

by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne X
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2007, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Print Review

A Brief History of Auschwitz

Auschwitz was the name the Germans used for the Polish city of Oswiecim when they occupied it in WWII. The concentration camp was established nearby in June 1940, taking the name of the nearby town. The camp quickly expanded into three main parts: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz - a group of about 40 sub-camps. In 1942, when the mass exterminations began, the camps (the largest complex of extermination camps in the Reich) became the site of the greatest mass murder in the history of humanity, with the majority of the arrivals being gassed on arrival in the Birkenau gas chambers.

Between 1.1 to 1.6 million people were killed there, about 90% were Jews, plus many Poles, Soviet prisoners-of-war and Roma (gypsies).

Auschwitz I was the administrative center and housed between 13,000 to 16,000 inmates at anyone time, rising to 20,000 in 1942. In September 1941 the SS started to experiment with poison gas on prisoners in Auschwitz I. Auschwitz I is also where Dr Carl Clauberg conducted his sterilization experiments on women (primarily involving injecting caustic chemicals into their uteruses) and Dr Josef Mengele carried out his well-known experiments; it also housed the camp brothel used to reward privileged prisoners, and also used by the Nazis.

More than 1 million were killed in Auschwitz II's four gas chambers, designed to look like showers, and burned in its four crematoria.

About 40 satellite camps were established around the two main camps to provide forced labor, they were collectively known as Auschwitz III.

Once the mass exterminations began, the prisoners were sorted on arrival. Within a few hours of arrival, all children, women with children, elderly and sick were gassed at a rate of 20,000 a day. Others were assigned to slave labor (340,000 of the 405,000 prisoners recorded as slaves died). Some, mostly twins and dwarfs went for medical experiments; and some, mainly women, were assigned to sort prisoners' belongings.

At the end of the war,the SS, in an effort to cover up their crimes, began to dismantle the buildings and "evacuated" any prisoners capable of marching into the heart of the Reich. About 56,000 prisoners were marched out of the camps in January 1945 under heavy escort, with many dying during the evacuation that became known as the Death March. The remaining 7,600 prisoners were liberated by Soviet soldiers a few days later. In 1947 the Polish parliament established the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the grounds of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It originally ran in September 2006 and has been updated for the October 2007 paperback edition.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Treeborne
    Treeborne
    by Caleb Johnson
    The Treeborne family has lived on The Seven – the local sobriquet for a seven-acre stretch of ...
  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.