The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The titular “boy in the striped pajamas,” Shmuel is Bruno’s Jewish friend who is kept prisoner at Auschwitz. Born on the same day as Bruno, he and Bruno become good friends, though Bruno never quite understands the horrors that Shmuel lives through in the camp. Shmuel is described as being very thin, and eagerly gobbles up the food that Bruno brings him. He understands much more about his situation and the war than Bruno does, but often does not retaliate to Bruno’s blasé remarks about his comparatively luxurious life, in order to not start arguments. The two boys ultimately die together in a gas chamber when Bruno crawls under the fence to help Shmuel look for his father, who has gone missing (and was likely killed by the German soldiers).

Shmuel Quotes in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The The Boy in the Striped Pajamas quotes below are all either spoken by Shmuel or refer to Shmuel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the David Fickling Books edition of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas published in 2007.
Chapter 10 Quotes

Bruno was sure that he had never seen a skinnier or sadder boy in his life but decided that he had better talk to him.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Related Symbols: Striped Pajamas, The Fence
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit ess

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Boy in the Striped Pajamas quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

“Poland,” said Bruno thoughtfully, weighing up the word on his tongue. “That’s not as good as Germany, is it?”
Shmuel frowned. “Why isn’t it?” he asked.
“Well, because Germany is the greatest of all countries,” Bruno replied, remembering something that he had overheard Father discussing with Grandfather on any number of occasions. “We’re superior.”

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel (speaker), Father, Grandfather
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis a

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 12 Quotes

Shmuel looked very sad when he told this story and Bruno didn’t know why; it didn’t seem like such a terrible thing to him, and after all much the same thing had happened to him.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Dinner isn’t served until half past six. What time do you have yours?”
Shmuel shrugged his shoulders and pulled himself to his feet. “I think I’d better get back,” he said.
“Perhaps you can come to dinner with us one evening,” said Bruno, although he wasn’t sure it was a very good idea.
“Perhaps,” said Shmuel, although he didn’t sound convinced.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel (speaker)
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequa

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 13 Quotes

“There aren’t any good soldiers,” said Shmuel.
“Of course there are,” said Bruno.
“Who?”
“Well, Father, for one,” said Bruno. “That’s why he has such an impressive uniform and why everyone calls him Commandant and does whatever he says. The Fury has big things in mind for him because he’s such a good soldier.”
“There aren’t any good soldiers,” repeated Shmuel.
“Except Father,” repeated Bruno, who was hoping that Shmuel wouldn’t say that again because he didn’t want to have to argue with him. After all, he was the only friend he had here at Out-With. But Father was Father, and Bruno didn’t think it was right for someone to say something bad about him.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel (speaker), Father
Related Symbols: The Fury
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 14 Quotes

Bruno tried to return to his book, but he’d lost interest in it for now and stared out at the rain instead and wondered whether Shmuel, wherever he was, was thinking about him too and missing their conversations as much as he was.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“What are you doing here?” repeated Bruno, for although he still didn’t quite understand what took place on the other side of the fence, there was something about the people from there that made him think they shouldn’t be here in his house.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in vo

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

It was the first time they had ever touched.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 16 Quotes

“I look just like you now,” said Bruno sadly, as if this was a terrible thing to admit.
“Only fatter,” admitted Shmuel.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel (speaker)
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 18 Quotes

Shmuel bit his lip and said nothing. He had seen Bruno’s father on any number of occasions and couldn’t understand how such a man could have a son who was so friendly and kind.

Related Characters: Shmuel (speaker), Bruno, Father
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 19 Quotes

Bruno had an urge to give Shmuel a hug, just to let him know how much he liked him and how much he’d enjoyed talking to him over the last year.
Shmuel had an urge to give Bruno a hug too, just to thank him for all his many kindnesses, and his gifts of food, and the fact that he was going to help him find Papa.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel (speaker)
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel’s hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Shmuel
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Striped Pajamas LitChart as a printable PDF.
The boy in the striped pajamas.pdf.medium

Shmuel Character Timeline in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The timeline below shows where the character Shmuel appears in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...saw it once, but had not seen Bruno. He tells Bruno that his name is Shmuel, and Bruno tells Shmuel his own name. They both agree that they had never heard... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Bruno asks Shmuel if he has any friends, and Shmuel says sort of—there are a lot of boys... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Bruno tells Shmuel that he does not think Poland is as good a country as Germany, and Shmuel... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Bruno tells Shmuel that if they are in Poland, this is the first time he has been in... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Bruno asks Shmuel if he likes exploring, and Shmuel says he’s never really done any. Bruno declares that... (full context)
Chapter 11
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Several months before Bruno first met Shmuel, Bruno remembers the day that Father received a new uniform, along with the title “Commandant.”... (full context)
Chapter 12
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Back in the present, Shmuel explains to Bruno how he got to Out-With. He tells Bruno that he used to... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Shmuel goes on with his story, and says that after a few months of wearing the... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Shmuel tells Bruno that there are hundreds of other people on his side of the fence,... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...he realizes that it is probably not a good idea to tell his family about Shmuel. They may not want him to be friends with Shmuel, and he does not want... (full context)
Chapter 13
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
...at Out-With, and stops feeling so unhappy. He is glad to find a friend in Shmuel, and goes to sit and talk with him at the fence every day. Bruno starts... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
At the fence, Bruno finds Shmuel waiting for him. He gives Shmuel the food, and asks if he knows Pavel. Shmuel... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Bruno asks Shmuel what he wants to be when he grows up, and Shmuel says that he wants... (full context)
Chapter 14
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...the house after his lessons end for the day, and he spends time talking to Shmuel through the fence until it is time for him to return home for dinner. One... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
One day Bruno asks Shmuel why he and everyone else only wear the striped pajamas. Shmuel says that that is... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...bicker as usual. Bruno complains about the rain, and says that he should be with Shmuel, before realizing that he should not have mentioned his new friend. Gretel demands he explain,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
It continues to rain on and off for the next few weeks, and Shmuel and Bruno are able to have their conversations at the fence only sporadically. Bruno becomes... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Angered, Bruno goes into the kitchen and is shocked to find Shmuel sitting there. Shmuel says that Kotler brought him there to polish Mother’s small glasses for... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...cold chicken with sage and onion stuffing. He cuts a few pieces, and talks to Shmuel while stuffing food in his mouth. Shmuel becomes listless while watching Bruno eat, and Bruno... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Kotler comes in and stares at the two boys talking. He shouts at Shmuel for speaking in the house. Shmuel apologizes quietly, but Kotler becomes enraged when he sees... (full context)
Chapter 16
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
...has now become his home. He realizes it isn’t so bad, now that he has Shmuel as a friend. Lieutenant Kotler has been transferred away from Out-With, much to the dismay... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Bruno is pleased to see that Shmuel seems happier lately, though he is still very skinny. Bruno remarks that this is the... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...should be shaven. Bruno hates the way he looks, but the next time he sees Shmuel, the two boys admit that now they look even more alike—even though Bruno is a... (full context)
Chapter 17
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he never hears from Grandfather, whom Father says has gone senile. Bruno would also miss Shmuel if they moved away. (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...that they are to return to Berlin within the week. Bruno dreads having to tell Shmuel that he is leaving. (full context)
Chapter 18
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Shmuel does not show up at the fence for several days. Bruno is overjoyed when he... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Bruno wishes they could play together just once before they have to part, and Shmuel lifts up the fence—there is enough room for Bruno to crawl under. Bruno is afraid... (full context)
Chapter 19
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Though it is raining the next day, Bruno goes to meet Shmuel at the fence anyway. Bruno is unhappy to leave his clothes in the mud, but... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...into space. Bruno says he doesn’t like it there and wants to go home, but Shmuel wants help to find his father. They search for evidence, but find nothing. After a... (full context)