National Political Institutes of Education

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NPEA Student Armbinde (armband)
Patch for uniforms called "Gaudreieck" from school location "Adolf-Hitler-Schule Pirna" in Sonnenstein castle

National Political Institutes of Education (German: Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten; officially abbreviated NPEA, commonly abbreviated Napola for Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt meaning National Political Institution of Teaching) were secondary boarding schools in Nazi Germany. They were founded as "community education sites" after the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933.


The goal of the schools was to raise a new generation for the political, military and administrative leadership of the Nazi state. Therefore, life at the NPEAs was dominated by military discipline.[1] Only boys and girls considered to be "racially flawless" were admitted to the boarding schools. This meant that no children with poor hearing or vision were accepted. "Above-average intelligence" was also required, so that those looking to be admitted had to complete 8-day entrance exams.[2] The official descriptor (rank) of a Napola cadet was “Jungmann” (plural "Jungmannen"), used similarly to the term “Cadet” in military schools in other countries. Napola cadets were between 11 and 18 years of age.[citation needed]

Life in boys' Napolas was often very competitive and frequently brutal. Approximately one fifth of all cadets failed to meet the required standards or were sent home because of injuries sustained in training accidents.

Library stamp of NPEA Vienna-Theresianum

The percentage of Jungmannen who eventually entered the SS was 13%, much higher than the 1.8% in the general German population.[3] The National Socialist world view was considered paramount in Napola education. A prominent belief among the cadets themselves was that of "Endsieg" or Final Victory. Many of them were utilized as child soldiers, and were killed in the last months of the war.

The first three NPEAs were founded in 1933 by the Minister of Education Bernhard Rust in Plön, Potsdam and Köslin. The schools responded directly to the Reich Ministry for Education, rather than to any state like regular schools. From 1936, the NPEAs were subordinated to the Inspector of the National Political Institutes of Education, SS-Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer. From August 1940 forward, they were part of the Hauptamt Dienststelle Heissmeyer.[4] Going forward, the schools were under the direct influence of the SS, which supplied and supported them.[4] The goal of the schools was to train future leaders, and especially given the influence of the SS, it was hoped that graduates would choose a career in the SS or police.[4] Heißmeier considered introducing uniforms and ranks similar to the SS among pupils and teachers. By 1941 there were 30 NPEAs with 6,000 pupils enrolled in all of Nazi Germany. In 1942 there were 33 schools, 30 for boys and 3 for girls. By the end of the war there were 43 schools.[4]

School Locations[edit]

City Official Title Region Founded Former use
Plön NPEA Plön Schleswig-Holstein 1 May 1933 Stabila (Staatliche Bildungsanstalt, "National Education Facility")
Potsdam NPEA Potsdam Brandenburg 26 May 1933 Stabila
Köslin NPEA Köslin Pomerania (today Poland) 15 July 1933 Stabila
Berlin-Spandau NPEA Berlin-Spandau Berlin 30 January 1934 Prussian Academy for Gymnastics; school for teachers
Naumburg NPEA Naumburg Prussian Province of Saxony 15 March 1934 Stabila/Military school
Ilfeld NPEA Ilfeld Prussian province of Hanover/Prussian Province of Saxony 20 April 1934 Cloisters/Seminary
Wahlstatt NPEA Wahlstatt Silesia (today Poland) 9 April 1934 Stabila
Oranienstein NPEA Oranienstein Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau 1934 Military school/Realgymnasium/Castle
Stuhm NPEA Stuhm East Prussia (today Poland) 1 October 1934 Barracks
Ballenstedt NPEA Anhalt Anhalt May 1934 City Gymnasium (secondary school)
Dresden-Klotzsche NPEA Dresden Klotzsche Saxony 1 April 1934 Landesschule
Backnang NPEA Backnang Württemberg 2 May 1934 Teacher Seminary
Bensberg NPEA Bensberg Prussian Rhine Province 1 June 1935 Military school/Castle
Schulpforta NPEA Schulpforta Prussian Province of Saxony 1 July 1935 Landesschule zu Pforta (state school Pforta, currently Landesschule Pforta in Saxony-Anhalt)
Rottweil NPEA Rottweil Württemberg 1 April 1936 Catholic Seminary
Neuzelle NPEA Neuzelle Brandenburg 1934/1938 Abbey (Stift), Boarding school for girls
Wien-Theresianum NPEA Wien-Theresianum Vienna (Austria) 13 March 1939 Academy
Wien-Breitensee NPEA Wien-Breitensee Vienna (Austria) 13 March 1939 Austrian Federal School (Bundeserziehungsanstalt) (Kommandogebäude Theodor Körner part of the Breitensee Barracks in Vienna)
Traiskirchen NPEA Traiskirchen Lower Danube (Austria) 13 March 1939 Austrian Federal School (Bundeserziehungsanstalt)
Ploschkowitz (Ploskovice) NPEA Sudetenland Sudetenland (today Czech Republic) 10 October 1940 Ploskovice Castle
Reisen (Rydzyna) NPEA Wartheland Warthegau (today Poland) 1940 Polish boarding school for boys in Rydzyna Castle
Loben NPEA Loben (East-) Upper Silesia (today Poland) 1 April 1941 School for children with speech impediments
Putbus NPEA Rügen Pomerania 1 September 1941 Pädagogium (Stift)
Reichenau NPEA Reichenau Baden 1941 Hospice
St Wendel NPEA St Wendel Saarland 1 September 1941 International School of the Steyler Mission
Weierhof bei Marnheim NPEA am Donnersberg Bavaria (Saar Palatinate) 1941 Gau-Oberschule (Reich regional secondary school?)
Sankt Paul im Lavanttal NPEA Spanheim in Kärnten Carinthia (Austria) 1941 Benedictine Abbey
Vorau NPEA Gottweig Styria (Austria) January 1943 Augustine Abbey
Seckau NPEA Seckau Styria (Austria) 1941 Benedictine Abbey (Stift)
Rufach NPEA Rufach Alsace (today France) October 1940 Hospice
Haselünne NPEA Emsland Prussian province of Hanover 17 October 1941 Cloister/Seminary for the Ursuline Order
Neubeuern NPEA Neubeuern Bavaria May 1942 Castle and state boarding school
St Veit NPEA St Veit Slovenia July 1942 Catholic Seminary and Gymnasium
Mokritz NPEA Mokritz Styria (Austria) 1942 Castle
Achern NPEA Achern Baden August 1943 The Illenau Sanatorium and Hospice
Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) NPEA Böhmen Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia 22 April 1944 Jesuit college and barracks
Raudnitz an der Elbe (Roudnice nad Labem) NPEA Raudnitz Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia July 1944 Roudnice Castle

Well-known former students[edit]

Well-known former students of National Political Institutes of Education include:


Napola (also known as Before the Fall), a film set in an NPEA, was released in 2004. It was directed by Dennis Gansel and starred Tom Schilling and Max Riemelt. Gansel's grandfather had been a former Napola student.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (German)Kleinhans, Bernd:Das Erbe der NAPOLA - von Christian Schneider in Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  2. ^ Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten in Austrian Lexicon. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  3. ^ Die Elite-Schule der Nazis
  4. ^ a b c d Yerger 1997, p. 20.


  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units, and Leaders of the General SS. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4. 

External links[edit]