We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Dr Helen Roche, BA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab.)

Assistant Professor (Modern European Cultural History) in the Department of History

(email at

Dr. Helen Roche is Assistant Professor in Modern European Cultural History at the University of Durham. 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 second book, a comprehensive history of the Napolas, the Third Reich's most prominent elite schools, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press, while her article 'Surviving Stunde Null: Narrating the fate of Nazi elite-school pupils during the collapse of the Third Reich', was awarded German History journal's "Best Article of 2015" prize.

Previously, she 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.

Helen welcomes enquiries from research students with an interest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social and cultural history, with a particular focus on German and Austrian history, the history of childhood and education, fascism studies and classical reception studies.

MPhil and PhD theses already supervised include:

  • 'The Portrayal - in Educational Settings - of the Relationship between Britain and the Holocaust' (PhD, currently in progress at Durham University).
  • 'The Role of Foreign Diplomats in Vienna during the 1930s' (PhD, currently in progress at the University of Cambridge).
  • 'The Impact of the TV Series Holocaust on West German Memory Culture, 1978-83'.
  • 'The SS-Kalender and the Dilemmas of Propagandizing the Volksgemeinschaft, 1938-1944'.
  • 'The Representation of Female Perpetrators of the Holocaust in British Newspapers, 1945-Present'.
  • 'Fascism, National Socialism, and the 1939 New York World's Fair'.

Research Groups

Department of History

Research Interests

  • 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 from the eighteenth century to the present


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Edited Journal

  • (2019). Fascist and National Socialist Antiquities and Materialities from the Interwar Era to the Present Day - Guest-edited special issue of Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies (Vol. 8.2).
  • (2013). German Philhellenism - Guest-edited special issue of Publications of the English Goethe Society (Vol. 82.3).

Journal Article

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Modern History: Europe:
  • Politicial, cultural, social history:
  • Roman, Greek & ancient civilisations: