NAZI Education: Elite NAZI Party Schools

Figure 1.--I think these boys are new students at the NAZI Party Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (NPEA or NAPOLA) boarding school at Feldafing on Lake Starnberg. From the age of the boys we suspect that they are new students just beginning the program. The image is undated, but we would guess about 1937. One of the students recalls looking back, "We immediately felt rather superior ...."

The NAZI Party established secondary schools for carefully children. The were primarily for boys, but a few were also for girls. The schools were to train the Party elite. The major program was the Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (NPEA or NAPOLA). The other kind of secondary schools created by the NAZIs were called the Adolf Hitler Schulen (AHS--Adolf Hitler Schools). The AHS were founded because the SS essentially seized control of the NAPOLA. Reichsorganisationsleiter Dr. Robert Ley (DAF leader) and Baldur von Schirach (Hitler Youth leader) agreed to set up the new schools in January 1937. The schools as far as we know were very similar. The primary difference was simply who controlled them.

Two Different Party Schools

There were two different groups of elite NAZI Party schools. The larger group was the NAPOLAs which the SS seized control from the HJ and DAF. They could obviously not resist the SS. Naming a second group of schools Adolf Hitler Schools probably made them easier to defend. The schools as far as we know were very similar. The primary difference was simply who controlled them. Perhaps readers will know of important differences, but we do notvyet know of any. Hopefully we will learn more as we learn more about the diffeent schools.

The Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (NPEA or NAPOLA)

The Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (NPEA or NAPOLA--National Political Educational Establishment) were an early creation of the Third Reich. The NAPOLA program was initaiated in 1933, the year the NAZIs seized power, under the leadership of the Joachim Haupt. The NAPOLAs were based on the Imperial Germany Kadettanstalten. The schools were higly selective. Only 20 percent of applicants were accepted. Selection criteria included racial origins, physical fitness, and membership of the Hitler Youth. I'm not sure what the academic qualifications were. The program was very demanding. Only about one-third of the students who entered the NAPOLAs actually finished the program and graduated. The NAZIs planned to train a new generation of German leaders at these schools. The schools adopted the regular secondary school curriculum, but placed a greater concentration on physical education and racial and political studies. The schools were single gender schools, primarily for boys. There were, however, also four schools for girls as well. The first three NAPOLAs were opened May 3, 1933. Another 18 NAPOLAs were opened before World War II began in September 1939 and about 20 more after the War began. The NAPOLAs were organised on a militarybasis. The "jungmannen" (students) were divided into Hunderschaften (100 students), Züge (platoons) and Gruppen (squads). There were student non-commissioned officers leading each of these units. The NAPOLAs were associated with the Hitler Youth. After the first year (beginning October 1934), NAPOLA students had to be Hitler Youth members. They were, however, funded and supported by the Minister of Education. It was the SchutzStaffel (SS) that would from an early point establish the domonate influence at the schools. SS-Gruppenführer August Heissmeyer was appointed to head the NAPOLA Program in 1936. RFSS Himmler himself assumed leadership of the schools in 1944. This actually led to the founding of the Adolf Hitler Schulen that competed with the NAPOLA schools.

Adolf Hitler Schulen (AHS)

The other kind of secondary schools created by the NAZIs were called the Adolf Hitler Schulen (AHS--Adolf Hitler Schools). The AHS were founded because the SS essentially seized control of the NAPOLA. Reichsorganisationsleiter Dr. Robert Ley (DAF leader) and Baldur von Schirach (Hitler Youth leader) agreed to set up the new schools in January 1937. These schools, according to the joint statement issued by Schirach and Ley, were open to outstanding and proven members of the Jungvolk, the junior section of the Hitler Youth. The selection from the Jungfolk was of course because the boys enter the AHS at age 12. I have no details on the selection process. Presumably it was similar to the NAPOLAs. Selection to the AHS was a great honor. Not only were there no fees, but success at the schools would open a wide range of opportunities to boys who might come from humble backgrounds. These schools were units of and under the jurisdiction of the Hitler Youth. Schirach and Ley shared in the supervision of both the curriculum and the selection of school staff. [Nizkor, 2653-PS.] The first AHS was opened at Krössinsee in April 1937. The schools were scatered all over Germany. The initial plan was to open a AHS in each Gau (NAZI administrative unit). This was never accomplished, but two AHS were opened in the occupied territories during World War II (Belgium and Böhmen-Mähren). They were boarding school directed by the Hitler Youth. Outstanding students were selected from the Hitler Youth at the age of 12 years. It is notable that the selection was made from the Hitlaer Youth and not German schools. This shows the NAZI distrust of the school system. They went through 6 years of leadership training for possible future positions in the NAZI party. Upon graduation, the student was prepared to attend the university or other post secondary training at Poltical Institutes and Order Castles. The Adolf Hitler Schools were introduced in January 1937. The head school was in Brunswick. [Shirer, p. 13.] Adolf Hitler Schools had 600 students in total. The small number suggests the great care with which the children were chosen. The larger number of NAPOLA students, however, has to be added to get a true picture of the number of students trained at these NAZI Party academies. German statistics show that in 1940, 28 percent of the students came from urban areas, while 20 percent came from rural areas [Overy, p. 42] [Recheck, why does this not add to 100 percent?] Students who passed the first training process were sent to a Gebietsführerschule (Area Leader School) for the final training.

Hitler Youth Gebietsführerschule / Area Leadership Schools

In addition to the NAZI Party schools (NAPOLA and Adolf Hitler schools), we also find Gebietsführerschule (GFS--Area Laedership Schools). This complkicates how we c;assify these scols. The Hitler Youth/ HitlerJugend was boh the nationl outh group and a NAZI Party formation. We have been able to find less information on these schools. There were quite a few opened up around the country. By area it is meant that boys for the school came from the local area. We note about 20 such schools. As best we can determine, these were facilities for secondary students, although perhaps not a full secondary program. The training may have been specifically designed for youth leaders. Rather they may have neen schools which provided specialty leadership training over a short period, although we do not know just what period. The leadership program may have been coordinated with the Adolf Hitler schools as they were closly conected to he HJ through Schirach. And we notice HJ emblems and flags in use at these schools. It was definitely not a summer program becuse we notice the boys in some images wearing the winter unifoms. The uniforms we see were standard HJ uniforms. The Gebietsführerschule was a program that took place during the school year. Available photographs clearly show teen agers, but apparently not the yojunger or older teen agers. Their purpose appears to have been to train not NAZI Party leaders, but Hitler Jugend, the Party and national youth group leaders. Strangely Google searches turn up all sorts of impressive buildings that were converted into Gebietsführerschule, but tell us nothing about just what the schools were. Perhaps readers will be able to tell us something about these schools.

Akademie für Jugendführung / Academy for Youth Leadership


The children selected were those who showed particular enthusism for the NAZIs, moften as part of their Hitler Youth training. Health, strength, andcracial characteristics were aklso importnt. We are unsure just how important inteligence and academic perfornnce in school was. We suspecy that academic ability was les iportant that the iother characteristics.


An observer tells us a little bit about the program. "The NAPOLA were national-socialist education centers for Hitler Youth boys between the ages of 10 and 18. with a strong emphasis on sports. But the emphasis also varied by the schools. At some, more emphasis was placed on linguistics, at others more toward science, and at others toward arts and humanities. Music was also on their curriculum and each Napoloa had its own fife and drum corps or marching bands. Until 1936, religion was also taught at the Napolas, but afterwards it was replaced by 'Germanic rites' lessons. In other words, it wasn't just political lessons. All of the schools gave great attention to NAZI racial theories. We are not entirely sure about the academic standards at these schools. Given the emphasis on politics, German rites, race, and sports, we susorct that the cadmic stanbdard were not as high as a standrd German secondary school like a gymnasium, but we have not yet seen a detailed assassment to substantiate this. As best we can tell, there was no national AHS curriculum. We are mot sure about the NAPOLA. Several authors report that academic standards were a[suling, epecially at the AHS. One report indicated that there wre no tests. Thus it was basically up to each student if he took the lessons seriously.


After 1941 a girls' school was opened and some of the previously male schools enrolled female students and faculty as well." [Crawford]


An important aspect of the program of these schools was that they were boarding schools. This allowed the NAZIs to persue a major goal of the Hitler Youth, that is to separate German youth from their parents and other influences such as churches. At these residential schools the NAZIs could mold future Party leaders and provide a program that fully reinforced the ideologicall training. Not only did the staff have complete cintrol over the youth, but the slection process ensured that most of the youth were highly nationlistic and pro-NAZI to begin with. Thus the students themselves reinforced the curriculum and training program. The youth wanted to be future NAZI leaders. And they spent the entire day with NAZI instructors and other youth who wanted to be NAZI leaders.

Order Castle Schools

The graduates of the Party secondary schools for the most part did not go on to university. We suspect that the Party schools did not prepre them academically for university studies. The best performing graduates of the Adolf Hitler Schools could continue their studies at DAF Leafer Ley's Ordenburgen (Order Castles). The name came from medieval fortresses of the Teutonic Knights. These were essentially 4-year finishing schools for the highest ranking AHS graduates. They got four more years of political and racial indoctrination as well as more extensuve physical training. The training program took pupils to the limits of their physical endurance. War games conductedcat these schoolks used live ammunition. As a result, pupils were killed at these schools. Those who graduated from the Order Castles expect to gain important positions in the Party. he graduates were Ordenjunkers. Both Ley and the Ordensjunkers, however, were disappointed with the reception graduates received. Few Gauleiters and other Party lraders wanted them. Albert Speer explained why, they apparently "knew nothing about practical life, while on the other hahd their arrogance and conceit about their own abilities was boundless." The Ordensjunkers thus instead of obtaining plum positins in the Party aparatus in the Reich were mostly drafted into the military. We suspect many went into the Waffen-SS. Herev theirvtraiingvws if simecuse. Others were assigned to serve in the occupation regimes in the East.


Crawford, Chris. E-mail message, June 7, 2005.

Nizkor Project, "Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Individual Responsibility Of Defendants: Baldur Von Schirach (2653-PS).

Overy, Richard. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich (Penguin Group: London 1996).

Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Simon and Schuster: New York, 1960).


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Created: April 20, 2004
Last updated: 12:48 AM 12/14/2014