Raffael M. Scheck

Audrey Wade Hittinger Katz and Sheldon Toby Katz Professor of History

Box 5331

Phone: 207-859-5331
Fax: 207-859-5340
Mailing Address:
5331 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8853
Office Hours:
MTWThF, 11-12:30
Scheck, Raffael M.


Universität Basel (Switzerland) Habilitation in Modern History, April 2003.

Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts Ph.D. in Comparative European History in May 1993.

Universität Zürich (Switzerland) Lizentiat (equivalent to the M.A.), May 1988.

Konservatorium und Musikakademie Zürich Musical training as a cello student, 1980-1981.

Areas of Expertise

  • Prisoners of War in World War II (specifically French colonial prisoners)
  • Crimes against French Black African soldiers in World War II
  • German political history 1914-1945
  • German history and literature
  • Modern European history and politics

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
HI112 AA Survey of Modern Europe
HI200 AIntroduction to History
HI224 AGermany and Europe, 1871-1945
HI321 AThe First World War
HI322 AEurope and the Second World War

Other Courses Taught

CourseCourse Title
HI 321The First World War
HI 322Europe and the Second World War
HI 323Yugoslavia: Emergence to Dissolution

Professional Information

Raffael Scheck, who was born in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), is Katz Distinguished Teaching Professor of modern European history at Colby College in Waterville, Maine (USA), where he has taught since 1994. He received his Master’s Degree at the University of Zürich and his Ph.D. at Brandeis University in 1993. In 2003, he completed a Habilitation at the University of Basel. Scheck is the author of five books and more than twenty articles on German history 1871-1945. He started out with studies of right-wing politics in Germany during World War I and the Weimar Republic before focusing on French colonial prisoners of war. In 2006, Scheck published the book Hitler’s African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940, which also appeared in French (2007) and German (2009). The German version was selected as the fourth best non-fiction book published in German in 2009 by a group of editors and journalists. In 2011, Scheck discovered an unknown captivity report of Léopold Sédar Senghor, the first president of Senegal (1960-80). Scheck is starting a new project on forbidden love affairs between western prisoners of war and German women during the Second World War and, more generally, on the conflict between international humanitarian law and Nazi law as experienced by western prisoners of war (primarily the French).

Current Research

Trials against western prisoners of war in Nazi Germany for forbidden love affairs with German women, insulting the German authorities, poaching, and others. This project provides a transnational microhistory of wartime Germany and probes the conflict between international humanitarian law protecting the prisoners and Nazi law.


Hitler's African Victims (Cambridge University Press)

"This is a well-written tale of how ordinary men become brutal killers and how racism can corrupt their moral sensibilities." Martin Klein, University of Toronto

"This elegant, slender volume describes a forgotten war crime: the murder by the German soldiers of thousands of Black African soldiers in the French Army in June 1940." Jonathan Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania

"Professor Scheck has provided a great service by carefully researching this vile episode and also placing it into the context of a military descending step by step into an abyss of ever worse criminality." Gerhard Weinberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (emeritus)

"Professor Scheck's excellent and original study details instances during the French campaign of 1940 when German Army and Waffen SS units killed French colonial troops after they had surrendered ..." Charles W. Sydnor, Jr.

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