The Boy in Striped Pyjamas 21

Jewish deportees in the Buchenwald death camp (AFP/Getty Images)


What a piece of work is a man!

How noble in reason.

How infinite in faculty!

In form and moving how express and admirable!

In action how like an angel.

In apprehension how like a god!

The beauty of the world.

The paragon of animals.

Hitler’s Nuremberg Rally (Imperial War Museum)

And yet, to me, man delights me not.

No, nor woman neither

(William Shakespeare)

Female SS guards forced to bury the concentration camp dead (Magyarorszay)


21 thoughts on “The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

  1. Pingback: Acid Rainforest ← Odds n Sods: A cabinet of curiosities

  2. Reply Aquileana Jul 12,2017 1:00 pm

    The poem you have written is excellent… This movie reminded me of La vita è bella, probably because kids are associated with naivety and they are important characters in both films… It is a powerful counterpoint if you stop to think it as well. The rationalizing insane engineering of the Nazi system vs the lack of concerns, playful “chaos” and happiness of children. Great post, Paul!. Best wishes

    • Reply Paul Jul 16,2017 1:54 am

      My apologies for the later response; it’s been one of those weeks! Shakespeare’s soliquy from Hamlet is one of my favoutite pieces and it strikes me: we are capable of so much but let ourselves down so often.

  3. Reply D. Wallace Peach Jul 7,2017 6:34 pm

    So powerful, Paul, and heartbreaking. The contrast between the start of the quote and the photos is stark and haunting. The quote’s end drops like a brick. Perhaps what is so distressing is that we knew better then and know better now, and yet the death of innocence continues. 🙁

  4. Reply sally cronin Jul 5,2017 9:57 am

    Some pictures require few words and these are a good example.. the words you chose were just right. The book and the film ripped the thin veneer of civilisation to pieces. They say we learn from history but if that is the truth why is it still happening in places such as Syria. Thanks Paul

    • Reply Paul Jul 7,2017 1:05 am

      I am glad you thought the juxtaposition of Shakespeare’s inspiring words with hideous picture was appropriate. I could never do justice to the ignorance and inhumanity of the holocausts but that seemed to me to sum up the paradox of man… plus Shakespeare’s last lines from that part of Hamlet’s soliloquy brought it all crashing back to earth

  5. Reply Christy B Jul 4,2017 4:34 pm

    This was a tough movie to watch but so well done. Wonderful tribute to all who suffered during that time, Paul.

  6. Reply Shehanne Moore Jul 3,2017 10:34 am

    Nice work. Robbie here has a great comment about it.

  7. Reply Jan Malique Jul 2,2017 1:41 pm

    What a terrible, terrible enactment of the depravities of our Shadow self.

  8. Reply Robbie Cheadle Jul 2,2017 8:36 am

    My son, Greg, read this book as a set work and it really moved him. I read The Dairy of Anne Frank and that had a huge impact on me. We have to remember that amongst all the evil there were so many heroes who helped others at huge risk to themselves. There will always be evil but there will also always be great courage, kindness and love to counterbalance it all. Hugs.

    • Reply Paul Jul 2,2017 11:22 pm

      That is very true Robbie and something as you say worth remembering

      • Reply Robbie Cheadle Jul 3,2017 5:37 am

        Absolutely, Paul, have a lovely week.

        • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Jul 6,2017 3:28 am

          Amazing film that really brought the issue home. Like Shehanne, I am grateful for your comment, Robbie, to help me balance the darker thoughts that threatened to take me over for a moment.

          We cannot and must not forget, however. Thanks, Paul.

          • Reply Paul Jul 7,2017 12:54 am

            It is funny isn’t it Madelyn, like Shakespeare said… we are the stuff of gods and what do we do with it? I too think Robbie’s words were a timely reminder… for all the cruelty we are capable of there is decency and compassion. Despite everything that shines through.

          • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Jul 7,2017 8:38 am

            The bad news frequently outnumbers the good – in the media and online – but that doesn’t mean that nothing good is happening to BE reported — I know there are a bazillion random acts of kindness every single day. I do my best to hold that thought.

          • Reply Paul Jul 9,2017 12:23 am

            Madelyn that is very true. As we cannot do very much about the endemic evil that occurs on a global scale we should concentrate on the small acts of kindness we as individuals can do to a fellow human many times each day… even if it is something they don’t know about like thinking before making a snap judgement about someone. For thousands of years countries and religions have tried to fight evil (often while causing it) so perhaps it is time to give individual acts of kindness a chance and see if they snowball into an avalanche of toleration…. Well, we can hope!

          • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Jul 11,2017 4:51 am

            I’m with you 100% Paul. GREAT response!

          • Reply Paul Jul 16,2017 1:59 am

            Dear Madelyn y apologies for the later response; it’s been one of those weeks! XXXX

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