The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tells the heartbreaking story of a forbidden friendship between two boys — one a prisoner in Auschwitz, the other the son of the camp’s commandant. Their childhood innocence stands in stark contrast to the horrific events unfolding around them. Six million people were murdered during the Holocaust; the Nazis’ crimes remain the worst to date in human history.
Bruno realises that his father is an important man, and feels proud that other Germans look up to him. But in reality his father is overseeing the genocide of Jews at Auschwitz. The Holocaust has given rise to countless stories, both true and fictional. It has been the backdrop to tales of tragedy, of evil and of heroism.
‘Hero’ who saved Jewish children dies at 106
Sir Nicholas Winton has died; he organised the rescue of 669 children from Czechoslovakia who would otherwise have perished in the Holocaust. What does his story say about humankind?
New Holocaust memoir storms bestseller charts
On April 13 1944, accompanied by her Polish-born father, Marceline Loridan-Ivens was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Paris. She was 16 at the time. Now she has written him a love letter.
Building bridges on Holocaust Memorial Day
On January 27th, millions will remember the Holocaust, and the creeping persecution that paved the way to Auschwitz. Is there a link between modern prejudice and mass murder?
Boyne’s book tells the story of the Holocaust through the means of a fictional friendship. But much of what we know about the Nazis’ crimes comes from the ability of real people to tell their stories. Today, we can learn about the shocking conduct of groups such as Daesh in Syria because brave people have dared to tell the truth about them.
Ruqia Hassan: witness who paid with her life
Are peace and justice brought about by nations? Or is real change more often due to a fearless individual such as the woman who wrote on Facebook about life in Raqqa under the rule of Daesh.
Syrian soldier tells of murder and lies
When Wasid joined the army, he thought he'd be fighting against terrorists destabilising his homeland. Instead, he was told to shoot unarmed civilians.
‘Silenced voices’ live on in Holocaust survivors
Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day. Yet every year, fewer and fewer people survive who remember the atrocities of World War Two. Here, we recount the story of one of them.
It was possible for the Holocaust to happen because many ordinary people accepted the dehumanisation and ‘othering’ of the Jews. Hitler and the Nazis blamed Jewish people for their country’s economic collapse and the first world war, and faced no powerful opposition when they did so. Do we need to be on our guard against similar patterns allowing history to repeat itself?
German leader slams new persecution of Jews
Yesterday, 75 years since the start of World War Two in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out again against anti-Semitism. Why?
US celebrates 50 years of civil rights
It is now five decades since President Johnson managed to pass the Civil Rights Act in a bid to end centuries of discrimination against black people. How should we celebrate its legacy?
‘Echoes of 1930s’ as German priest threatened
A priest in Germany who objected to insults against refugees has resigned after getting death threats. As anti-immigration sentiment grows, some fear a repeat of the country’s Nazi trauma.
Boyne juxtaposes the curiosity and playful innocence of the children in his story with the mass murder taking place at Auschwitz. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel is a hopeful story. But as it develops he is repeatedly shocked by his friend’s gaunt appearance and sad demeanour. Children’s innocence is inevitably lost, but circumstances force some children to grow up much more rapidly than others.
Syria’s children suffer shocking war trauma
A charity has captured the world’s attention by revealing first hand stories of children caught in Syria’s bloody civil war. Its report, Untold Atrocities, details appalling suffering.
Alarm over growing use of child soldiers
Isa Dare’s role in Daesh’s latest video is a reminder that child recruits are as important to the group as adults. The issue of child soldiers is growing around the world – what can be done?
Parents told: ‘get mean’ to avoid spoiled children
A quarter of British children do nothing to help around the house, a survey finds. ‘Mean parenting’ gurus say parents who overindulge children are creating a generation of spoiled brats.
Bruno has no need to visit Shmuel; he has a comfortable life. But he steals bread to feed him, plays board games with him and is shocked when his friend’s father goes missing. There are many ways of showing our empathy — the understanding of the situation in which others find themselves. But what explains our attachment to the suffering of others, and how significant a force is it?
Compassion ‘as important’ as brains in elderly care
A major report from charities and the NHS has called for an overhaul in care for the elderly. At the heart of the proposed reforms: treating the aged less like patients and more like people.
Cash and sympathy pour into devastated Nepal
People in Nepal face the aftermath of the earthquake that killed thousands and ruined buildings and infrastructure. Emergency appeals have been launched — but how much do they say about us?
Man’s best friend stars in anniversary Crufts
The world’s biggest dog show has begun in Birmingham. Its contestants’ bonds with their owners draw on millennia of evolution. But is it healthy for humans to own such an obedient animal?