Where Was Pavel from in the Boy in the Striped Pajamas??

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Key Takeaways:

  • Pavel’s exact homeland is never specified in the book or movie.
  • He was an elderly Jewish doctor before being sent to the concentration camp.
  • His foreign accent implies he likely came from Eastern Europe.
  • The story suggests he was transported from elsewhere in Germany’s occupied territories.
  • Pavel’s origins highlight the Nazi imprisonment of Jews across Europe.


Where Was Pavel from in the Boy in the Striped Pajamas??

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a powerful Holocaust story about the unlikely friendship between Bruno, a young German boy, and Shmuel, a Jewish concentration camp prisoner. A key character in the book and film is Pavel, an elderly Jewish man who works as a servant for Bruno’s family at their home near the Auschwitz camp. Pavel plays a small but important role in the story, leaving readers to wonder – where was he originally from?

This article will take an in-depth look at Pavel’s background and origins within the context of the story. Determining where Pavel came from not only provides insight into his individual character, but also sheds light on the broader historical circumstances surrounding Jews in territories under Nazi control. By evaluating relevant details and clues in the book and film, we can piece together an informed perspective on Pavel’s roots and life before his imprisonment. Gaining this understanding illuminates an important dimension of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Specifically, this article will analyze textual evidence regarding Pavel’s accent, references to his past, and inferred location prior to arriving at Auschwitz. It will also consider the significance of Pavel’s origins in representing the diverse backgrounds of Jewish victims from across Europe. While the story leaves the particulars of Pavel’s homeland uncertain, we can still reconstruct a meaningful profile of who Pavel was and where he likely came from before being tragically swept up by genocide.

Where Was Pavel From? Analyzing Potential Clues

Where Was Pavel from in the Boy in the Striped Pajamas??

What can Pavel’s accent tell us about his origins??

One noticeable characteristic which offers a hint about Pavel’s background is his accent when speaking German. In the film version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, his manner of speech clearly identifies him as a non-native German speaker. Pavel’s accent has distinct Eastern European inflections, including missing or mispronounced consonants and elongated vowel sounds.

Linguistic experts could likely pinpoint more precisely which regional accents share similarities to Pavel’s speech patterns. However, the accent alone conveys that Pavel grew up speaking a native language other than German. This helps narrow the range of possibilities regarding where he lived before the war. His lack of a German accent implies he did not grow up within Germany itself. Instead, it suggests he originally hailed from somewhere in Eastern Europe, before later learning German as a second language.

What does Pavel’s previous occupation tell us about him??

Another revealing detail is Pavel’s former occupation as a doctor, mentioned briefly when Bruno first encounters him. This background as a medical professional indicates Pavel received advanced education and training. He practiced as a doctor somewhere prior to becoming imprisoned at Auschwoitz.

Most Jews lived in small, isolated communities across Europe. The fact that Pavel worked as a doctor implies he likely grew up in a larger city with more resources and education options for Jews. This provides additional context about the type of social environment he left behind. A sophisticated urban setting probably offered greater opportunities for professional training and employment compared to rural parts of Eastern Europe.

What locations are suggested when Pavel arrives at Auschwitz??

While the story gives no definitive statements about Pavel’s city or country of origin, there are contextual clues related to his transportation to the concentration camp. In his first meeting with Bruno’s family, Pavel is described as having just arrived at Auschwitz along with many other new prisoners. Based on the1942 setting, he was likely among the masses of Jews deported from elsewhere in Europe and brought by rail to the expanding camp complex.

Given Auschwitz’s location in occupied Poland, many Jewish prisoners originated from nearby ghettos and camps across Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and other parts of Nazi-controlled Eastern Europe. While Pavel could have conceivably come from any of these places, his proximity to Auschwitz right before imprisonment narrows down the possibilities. He was most likely already somewhere inside Germany’s sphere of influence in Central or Eastern Europe before ultimately being deported to the Auschwitz death camp.

Why Are Pavel’s Origins Significant?

Beyond simply solving the puzzle of Pavel’s background, considering where he came from provides deeper insight into The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in two key ways:

It highlights the diversity of Jewish victims at Auschwitz??

The Jews imprisoned and murdered during the Holocaust represented a cross-section of communities scattered across Europe. While many shared common cultural traits, between different countries and regions there was significant diversity in language, traditions, level of education and assimilation. Pavel stands in for the wide variety of backgrounds Jews came from before the war, only to tragically meet the same fate. His accent and manners subtly illustrate one story within the broader tapestry of Jewish life that was systematically destroyed.

It reinforces Jews’ forced displacement across Europe??

Regardless of Pavel’s specific place of birth, the most pertinent fact is that he was forcibly taken far from home to Auschwitz. Wherever his hometown, it was somewhere outside of Poland and the immediate vicinity of the camp. This resonates with the experience of Jews across Europe uprooted from their communities and relocated to concentration camps as essentially slave labor. Highlighting Pavel’s foreign origins emphasizes Jews’ loss of rights and terrifying transnational displacement that was part of the Holocaust’s destructive enormity.


In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Pavel represents an important perspective through his identity as an educated, acculturated Jew whose way of life was obliterated by the Holocaust. While his exact origins remain uncertain, textual evidence suggests he likely came from an urban background somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe before arriving at Auschwitz. Beyond illuminating clues about Pavel as an individual, consideration of his roots provides insight about the Holocaust’s decimation of diverse Jewish communities across borders. The subtle but significant question of “where was Pavel from?” ultimately highlights the cultural tapestry destroyed and brutal ruptures in place and identity endured by all Jews during this dark chapter of history.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pavel’s Origins

Was Pavel from Poland?

No, there is little indication Pavel was originally from Poland. His accent implies Eastern European roots, but he was likely transported to Auschwitz from elsewhere in the region. Many Jews in the camp were brought in from outside occupied Poland.

Could Pavel have been from Western Europe?

It’s unlikely. His accent does not resemble Western European languages like French or Dutch. Also, Jews in parts of Western Europe were mainly deported to camps within those territories rather than sent as far as Auschwitz.

What clues suggest Pavel was from an urban background?

His past occupation as a doctor implies he benefitted from educational opportunities mainly accessible in larger cities. This differentiates him from poorer Jews in small rural villages across Eastern Europe.

Does the name Pavel reveal anything about his origins?

Not definitively. While Pavel is a typical Eastern European name, variations of it appear across multiple languages and countries. The name alone does not pinpoint Pavel to any specific nationality or place of birth.

Could Pavel have grown up speaking Yiddish rather than Polish or German?

Yes, it’s quite possible. Yiddish was widely spoken by Jews across Eastern and Central Europe. His accent could stem from Yiddish rather than any specific regional language. This would further differentiate him as coming from a distinct Jewish community.

Why is Pavel’s hometown unknown when other characters have clear origins?

As a minor character, Pavel’s background is not fleshed out. The story’s main focus is on Bruno and Shmuel, who have clear German and Polish origins, respectively. Pavel functions primarily to represent the diverse group of Jews concentrated at Auschwitz.

Does the name Pavel appear elsewhere in Holocaust stories or histories?

Yes, Pavel is a not uncommon Eastern European Jewish name found across various accounts, such as Pavel Friedmann, a Czechoslovakian poet who perished at Theresienstadt. But it’s unclear if Boyne had any specific reference in mind when naming Pavel.

Could Pavel’s accent provide clues if analyzed by a linguist?

Quite possibly. A trained linguist or dialect coach may be able to pinpoint certain phonetic traits in Pavel’s speech that reveal influences of a specific regional language or dialect. However, the film accent alone only conveys generic Eastern European features.

Is Pavel meant to symbolize Holocaust victims from Czechoslovakia?

Not necessarily. While Czechoslovakia was certainly part of the region drawn into the Holocaust, Pavel’s accent and background details don’t definitively tie him to there. He represents a more general diversity, not any one country specifically

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