Research Fellow, Dr Helen Roche, to present at The Wiener Library

18 May 2013

"Why we knew nothing about Auschwitz": Former Nazi elite-school pupils' attempts to come to terms with the Holocaust

Dr Helen Roche (University of Cambridge)
Fri 24 May 2013

Time: 1.00pm - 2.00pm

Using new evidence, including unpublished documentary sources and freshly-elicited eyewitness testimony, Helen Roche will explore former Napola pupils' diverse reactions to the troubled legacy of the Holocaust. Often, these men's reflections, whether private or public, touch upon the idea of whether they 'really knew about the Holocaust' at school, while the genocide was taking place. For instance, one published memoir by a pupil of Napola Ballenstedt is actually subtitled 'Der Versuch einer Antwort, warum ich von Auschwitz nichts wusste' ('The attempt to find an answer to why I knew nothing about Auschwitz'). However, other former pupils remember seeing or being tangentially involved with evacuations of concentration-camp inmates during the final days of the Third Reich.

Dr Helen Roche is the Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She is currently writing a monograph on the history of the Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten (Napolas). She is also the author of 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.

Admission: Free, but booking is essential as space is limited.

Location: The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London - click for map.

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