Skip to content

NaPolA

September 14, 2015

BTFNaPolA is the acronym for “National-politische Erziehungs-Anstalt” or “National Political Education Institute”.

Based on the recollections of his grandfather, Dennis Gansel’s Before the Fall (Napola —Elite für den Führer) is a coming of age story about the training of one such Nazi elite in the Germany of 1942.

Friedrich Weimer’s boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) – high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father’s objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area’s governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head.

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 NPEA’s was dominated by military discipline. 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. Life in boys’ Napolas was often very competitive and frequently brutal. Approximately one fifth of all cadets washed out or were sent home because of injuries sustained in training accidents. The official descriptor (rank) of a Napola cadet was “Jungmann”, used similarly to the term “Cadet” in American military schools. Napola cadets were between 11 and 18 years of age. The percentage of Jungmannen (Plural of “Jungmann”) who eventually entered the SS was much higher than in the general German population- 13% compared to 1.8%. The National Socialist worldview 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 met their deaths in the last months of the war.

The first three NPEA’s were founded in 1933 by the Minister of Education Bernhard Rust and they responded directly to the Reich Ministry for Education, rather than to any states like regular schools. By 1941, there were a total of 30 NPEA’s with 6,000 students 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 43 schools existed.

How many of us, if knowing what’s right, will do the right thing, or take the easy way out and turn our backs towards the truth?

Albrecht Stein: [reading from his essay] “As childish as it sounds, the winter time and the sight of freshly fallen snow always fill us with inexplicable joy. Perhaps because as children, we associated it with Christmas. I always imagine myself the hero who killed dragons, rescued virgins, and freed the world from evil. As we went out yesterday to find the prisoners, I felt like that little boy who wanted to save the world.”

Vogler: Albrecht, stop.
Albrecht Stein: But as we returned, I understood that I am part of the evil that I wanted to save us from.
Vogler: Albrecht, stop.
Albrecht Stein: Shooting prisoners is wrong. They were not armed, as Governor Stein told us, to incite us. We didn’t shoot men, only children.
Vogler: Out!

To return to the home page, click on the header at the top of this page.

Advertisements

From → Film, Sexuality

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: