Dear Grandmother,

How are you? Do you like the house there in Berlin? Our house at Out – With is terrible, the house is awful and boring and there is nobody to play with, the only persons here are the soldiers, Father, Mother, Gretel and some strange people which live on the other side of the fence, they all wears striped  pajamas and live in small houses.

Here at Out – With the days are boring and there is nothing to do but recently Herr Liszt came to give us lessons but he is boring too, he just want me to study history and geography and he doesn’t make me read books.

Here at Out – With there is even nothing to explore, there is just a strange plaque on a bench, but that isn’t enough, there is also a stupid soldier called lieutenant Kotler who can only mistreat me and Pavel our waiter.

I just want to come back in Berlin and leave this horrible place.

Your loving grandson Bruno.

(Andrea Veronese 8C)

13 May 1943

Dear Grandmother,

I’m very happy to be writing to you, I miss you very much! How are you? How is Grandfather? I hope you’re both fine. This place is terrible, Grandmother, I hope you’ll never have to see it. I wish with all my heart and soul to be back in Berlin with you, in our actual home.

This place is so bad, I actually had my very first nearly-fatal experience here. I’d built a beautiful tire swing and hung it on a tree. After a couple of minutes, I was lying flat on the floor, with a badly hurt and bleeding knee.

Another negative thing about this “Out-With” place, is that exploring is practically impossible. As adventurous as I am, I’ve found a way to have fun, though. There is this bench with a plaque on it in the middle of the garden. A very nice and flower-filled garden, by the way! After the house’s boundary walls, is a sort-of field; after that, the camp starts. It must be a really nice camp, since a lot of people chose to live there. The only weird thing is that they all wear the same filthy striped pyjamas and none of them has hair or a beard. It must be a new fashion I’m not aware of.

This place is so boring, Mother and Father had to call a tutor for me and Gretel to continue our schooling. Herr Lizst doesn’t like fictional books. He wants us to learn everything about our country’s history and wants us to know which are the wrongs that have been inflicted to our country. What does inflict mean, Grandmother?

I miss you very much, I hope to see you soon.

Your loving grandson,


(Maria Orlando 8C)

                                                                                       13 May 1943

Dear Grandmother,

Sorry that I haven’t written to you since we moved. I really miss you and Grandfather.  Why couldn’t we have taken you and grandfather with us to out- with and have left Gretel in Berlin  I mean she is a hopeless case, right?

I am really unhappy and angry about the move to out-with. Its nothing like in Berlin and the house is too small. I’d do a anything to move back to Berlin but mother says that we need to stay were your family is. But I just think that is a bunch of mumbo jumbo. This is because you and Grandfather are both in Berlin and you are a part of our family so that proves me right.

I think that the house here at out-with is very disgraceful, because the house is nothing like the one in Berlin and its too small and too stuffy. All I can do here at out-with is sit in my room and watch a fly fly against my window. I really want to do something, do you have any suggestions?

This week I had a swing accident. You see, I was swinging on my new made swing when all of a sudden I fall of.  After I had fallen down a man called pavel, who works at our house,  helped me up and cared for me. He also insisted that he was a doctor so that was a surprise.

Since I arrived here, I have been thinking about what to do and the only thing which I can do here is explore, for I have no one to play with. When I went outside to explore, I found looked at the plaque on the bench which I had been looking at for weeks now and the only thing it said was “ presented on the occasion of the opening of… out-with camp, June nineteen forty”. I also found out about these big poles which spread out across a field. The problem is that I cant go onto the field because behind the barbed wire there are people. There are also these strange looking metal huts in the distance, I guess those people sleep there. Do yo think its for something else?

The people whom live behind the barbed wire are strange. They wear these types of striped pyjamas and striped caps. Usually the people are adults but i’m sure that there are children there as well, well there must be. What do you think? Another strange thing about these people is that they get yelled at and pushed around by soldiers. I don’t get why they do that to those striped pyjama people. The last thing which I think is kind of unfair is the fact that they get to be on the playing field, they get to have the good side of the land and we only get the house and trees.

Anyway, that’s all the news and questions I have for now. I hope that I will see you again soon and I hope that you wright back as soon as possible so that I can hear about the great news and excitment which is going on back in Berlin.

Your loving grandson,


(Jelle Debruyne 8C)

Out-With, 13th May 1943

Dear Grandmother,

How are you and grandfather? How is Berlin? Will you come and see us, in the foreseeable future?

I don’t like Out-With, the house is small and isn’t good for exploration, it has got only two floors, not like the one in Berlin. Outside my window I can see a bench with a plaque with written: “Presented on the occasion of the opening of Out-With camp, June Nineteen forty”. I can also see the tree where two weeks ago I fell from the swing I made but, luckiy I was rescued by Pavel, our waiter.

Father and Mother decided that Gretel and me have to start taking lessons, a private tutor is coming here at Out-With, his name is Herr Lizst. Herr Lizst says that reading and art are useless whilst history and geography are important in life. I don’t agree with him, I told Mr. Lizst that, back in Berlin, we used to perform plays with you and he answered that you are not our teacher.

Hope to hear from you soon.
Your loving grandson,
(Tommaso Delpozzo)

13th May 2013
Dear Grandmother,
how are you doing? How is grandfather? Are you enjoying there in Berlin? I really miss you. I hate it here,the new house is so quiet and boring without you and my friends.

This house stands all on its own in an empty,desolate place and there are no other houses anywhere to be seen which means there would be no other boys to play with. I am alone.

Two days ago one of the servants,Pavel,helped me buld a swing. A couple of hours later I fell off it and the swing hit me on the head and I nearly fainted,but then he came out and brought me in and cleaned it all up and put a bandage on me; it stung very badly but I didn’t cry. He is very kind with me and he told that before coming here he was a doctor! I was so confused: I asked him why he came here to be a servant when he has the abilities of a doctor? That was very strange and I still can’t understand it.

Anyway, I miss my exploration times when we were in the old house,there were lots of things that still need to be discover. One day, when I was much more bored than the other days I went behind the house where It’s forbidden to walk there. When I went there I saw a big forest and I started to run and to search something interesting! A bit further away I saw a big fence. I immediately went there and there were some people (children too)without hair that were wearing grey striped pyjamas and and a hut too. They were working toughly. It was awkward: why do I have to stay here alone? Isolated by everyone?

Father told Gretel and me that we don’t have to go to school because everyday Herr Liszt (our teacher) will come here and teach us. I don’t like him. He just talk about history and history and history. I hate this subject. I want to study geography but he doesn’t want to. He said that history tells us about past events that happened in our world,without it we wouldn’t be here. It’s so boring!

Hope to hear from you soon,
your loving grandson,
(Liliana Hu)

Dear grandmother,
How are you? How’s grandfather? I miss you both alot and can’t wait to see you soon.

The new house is the opposite of our old house in Berlin. The new one stands in an empty desolate place and there are no other houses, so i have no friends to play with and i rally miss Daniel, Karl and Martin.

Though on day i saw some children, well they weren’t all children. There were fathers, grandfathers, small boys and big boys.

Next to our house there is a tall fence with enormous bales of barbed wire tangled in spirals and sharp spikes sticking out all the way round.

I have been looking out of my window for months at the garden and the bench with the plaque on it with something written on it, but i never understood what and the tall posts that are huge and made of wood, like telegraph posts.

I actually prefer our house in Berlin, but father says we have to remain here for the foreseeable future and i hope is not alot.
Your loving grandson,
(Camilla Alessi)

13th May 1943
Dear Grandmother,

how are you? I miss you so much and i miss our old plays we did altogether and the fabulous costumes you made for us.

You know what, the new house sucks! I hate it here, there’s no one to play with and nothing to do except wondering about in the house.
The house is just three floors high, nothing compared to our old one, it’s dusty, old and far from the city.
There is only one positive thing in all this: there’s a very big garden where we can play but as i already told you, there’s no one to play with!

There’s also a bench a plaque on it with an inauguration date of a place but I didn’t really pay attention to it. The strangest things are the fences covered in spiky barbed wire which Mother and Father told me strictly not to go near it.
What’s even more strange is that there are houses inside, horrible low huts with people in it and some of these huts have chimneys with smoke constantly coming out. Maybe they are cooking food to eat after work like we do.

These people are very thin though, they work all day and wear always the same clothes: striped pyjamas, no shoes and striped cloth caps plus they are all shaved with no hair on their heads. There are kids, men, old men, grandfathers, dads and when a soldier shouts to them they obey straight away.
These people are very strange because Mother and Father have never invited them to dinner.
Father says they are strange creatures that don’t live anywhere so must be kept under strict guard.

Anyway Mother and Father said Gretel and me we must restart school so they hired a private tutor to teach us Geography and History. The private tutor’s name is Herr Lizst. He knows a lot about Germany’s history but doesn’t want me to learn about the middle ages because he says it’s useless to know them.

Well I hope to hear from you soon Grandmother
Your loving grandson
(Edoardo Rossi)

13th May 1943

Dear Grandmother,
How are you and Grandfather? I am actually not okay, this place is so boring. My best friends miss me. Every single thing I lived in Berlin is missing!

This house is totally boring is big and huge, and there is no one that I can play with… I just miss my life at Berlin; I just don’t like Out-with…

I went to explore other day and I found a really strange place: there was barbed wire, fences and huts. There are lots of people that live there, and I don’t know why but they are dressed in striped pajamas, it was really strange. There were even lots of boys over there and I think that is no fear to me, because they are with their friends, and I am in other side of fence in my self, with nobody that I can play!

Ah! Now I don’t go to school, but I have a tutor that comes to our house. He is very boring, we do just Geography and History, and I don’t like it. Actually I hate it, mama says that I shouldn’t say ‘HATE’… but still I don’t like it. Sorry, but I need to stop I will write you again…

P.s Come to see us!!

Your loving Grandson Bruno

(Sumin Park)

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Year 8

2 thoughts on “Letters to Grandmother

  1. Dear Grandmother,

    How are you? And how is Grandfather? I hope everything is good. I missed you both so much since I have been here at Out-with, I miss Berlin and my friends, there I used to have a big house with five floors, with it’s magnificent view of Berlin. But now we are living in this old and horrible house that has only three floors. How can a family live in such a small place.

    I used to have three best friends for life: Karl, Daniel and Martin. We had plans for the summer now everything changed with me stuck in here by myself with no one to talk to or to play with.

    Here at out-with there are soldiers that come and go from our new house as if it’s theirs, I know that even here Father has his “out of bounds with no exception ” office but seem that all of the soldier’s don’t know this rule.

    I wish someone could explain to me why on earth we have to be on the other side of the fence away from the kids of my age who are plaing toghether maybe for several hours. Father usually dosen’t have time for me but now even the rest of the family dont have time for me. Anyway I have noticed that on the other side of the fence everybody wear striped pijamas, I don’t understand why.

    Please help me go away from this nightmare ,
    your beloved grandson


    133\ 1944
    (Sameer 8A)

  2. Some of you have to think of Bruno’s age . Yes you might be impressed that you have wrote a great letter but you used some words that wouldn’t have made sense to Bruno.

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