Helen Roche 

is Associate Professor in Modern European Cultural History at Durham University. Her second book, The Third Reich’s Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas, has just been published by Oxford University Press.

Her work has been featured in the press nationally and internationally, including appearances in The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, on the BBC and Sky News. Her first book, Sparta’s German Children: The ideal of ancient Sparta in the Royal Prussian Cadet Corps, 1818-1920, and in National Socialist elite schools (the Napolas), 1933-1945, was published in 2013, and has subsequently received critical acclaim from reviewers in several disciplines, including Classics, intellectual history, and the history of education. Her article ‘Surviving Stunde Null was also awarded German History journal’s “Best Article of 2015” prize.

Previously, Helen held Research Fellowships at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and the University of Cambridge, having completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. Her research has been funded by (among others) the AHRC, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. She is currently researching the history of everyday life under fascism in interwar Europe.

See all of Helen’s publications

Other interests include:

  • German history from the nineteenth century onwards; National Socialism; Italian Fascism
  • Austrian history during the inter-war period; comparative fascism studies
  • History of childhood and history of education, especially German elite education and humanistic education
  • Youth exchange during the twentieth century; Anglo-German relations
  • History and memory in post-war Germany
  • Classical reception in general, and German philhellenism in particular
  • Greco-German relations and philhellenism from the 18th century to the present

Latest News

'The Third Reich's Elite Schools' in the Media

Since its publication on 11 November 2021, Helen's book The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas has received widespread attention in the national and international media, including features in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and interviews on the BBC, Scottish and Irish National Radio.Read more...

New Book: The Third Reich's Elite Schools

Helen's second monograph, The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas, has now been published by Oxford University Press.

Helen's research draws on material from eighty archives in six different countries worldwide, as well as eyewitness testimonies from over 100 former pupils. The book, which has been over a decade in the making, presents the first comprehensive history of the Third Reich’s most prominent elite schools, the National Political Education Institutes (Napolas / NPEA).Read more...

Khameleon Podcast on Classics and Fascism

Helen recently contributed a podcast on 'Classics in Nazi Germany' to a series of podcasts on Classics and decolonisation hosted by Khameleon Productions.Read more...

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