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. Her next book, on the history of everyday life under fascism in interwar Europe, is under contract with Head of Zeus.

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' featured in An Evolving Man podcast

Helen's book The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas has recently been featured by boarding-school syndrome expert and therapist Piers Cross on his podcast 'An Evolving Man'. You can watch the podcast on Youtube here.Read more...

Glowing Review for 'The Third Reich's Elite Schools' in the FAZ

On 13 May 2022, Helen's book The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas received an extremely favourable review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's leading broadsheets. The book has also received critical acclaim in the online journal Sehepunkte.Read more...

Further media attention for The Third Reich's Elite Schools

Following its publication in November 2021, Helen's book The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas received widespread media coverage in the national and international media - click here for more details. Since January, the book has been featured in further media interviews, including on BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking, WW2TV, at the Wiener Library, and on the Real Dictators and House of Modern History podcasts.Read more...

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