Bruno is nine years old and lives in Berlin, in a nice mansion with his mother, father, older sister and some household helps. He goes to a good school, has a lot of friends and – because of his father´s position in the political hierarchy – he gets treated with privilege. Except for his annoying sister Gretel, he has nothing to worry about.
Sure, sometimes his father works too much and gets angry if Bruno doesn´t salute correctly, but he loves Bruno. And there are also his grandparents, who adore their grandson – who, in return, adores them.
Bruno lives a nice life in 1942, when the rest of the world worries about the war that is to come.
All of this changes one evening, when a strange man, the Führer, comes to visit. During this dinner party, everyone acts nervously and the only reason for this seems to be this “Fury” – and although Bruno doesn´t really understand this situation, he knows better than to anger his father by acting up.
Soon after, Bruno gets to know that his father was promoted to Commandant and the family needs to move for his new job – away from Berlin and all of Bruno´s friends.
When they finally arrive in their new home, everything is strange and new to the boy: The new house isn´t as big and beautiful as the old one, there seems to be no room and time for fooling around and the only other residence nearby seems to be some kind of camp, where people walk around in striped pyjamas all day.
Bruno is angry at his father for moving them so far away – he even misses school! The only ones he could talk to all day would be his homeschooling teacher, mother and his horrible sister Gretel – and since those are no real options for a nine-year-old boy, he instead goes outside to play.
Outside, he notices that the strange camp is huge – he can´t even walk around it. While inspecting the fence that surrounds the camp, Bruno meets a boy in his age, Shmuel – except Shmuel is on the other side of the fence, and he is wearing striped pyjamas.
From this point on, the boys meet daily: one behind, the other in front of the fence. They become good friends. They discover, if it weren’t for the fence and the pyjamas, they wouldn´t be different at all …
A haunting story about the Holocaust and the loss of innocence.