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, is 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 modern political appropriations in particular
  • Greco-German relations and philhellenism from the 18th century to the present

Latest News

New Publications on German Perceptions of Italy

Helen has recently published two new articles in the leading historical journals Ricerche Storiche and European History Quarterly; 'Italiani Cattiva Gente? Anti-Italian Stereotypes and the Obfuscation of War Crimes in German Perpetrator Narratives from the Italian Theatre of War' (with Dario Pasquini), and 'Nazi Elite-School Pupils as Youth Ambassadors Between Fascist Italy and the Third Reich'.Read more...

'The Third Reich's Elite Schools' Now Out in Paperback

Helen's monograph The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas has now been released in an affordable paperback edition. To purchase a copy, you can visit the Oxford University Press website here.Read more...

Interview with 'The Press Project'

Helen has recently been interviewed by Konstantinos Poulis of 'The Press Project', a news organisation based in Athens. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.Read more...

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