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 A A Survey of Modern Europe
HI200 A Introduction to History
HI224 A Germany and Europe, 1871-1945
HI321 A The First World War
HI322 A Europe 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 the history of captivity (prisoners of war and civilian internees) in the age of the world wars.

Current Research

Prisoners of War from the French colonies in German camps 1940-1945


Mothers of the Nation - Right-Wing Women in Weimar Germany

What role did right-wing women play in the Nazi rise to power? Mothers of the Nation analyzes the work of women in the German People's Party and the German National People's Party - parties that covered the range from the moderate to the radical right. Looking at politics on both the local and national level, the author discusses issues ranging from social welfare to foreign policy. He shows that right-wing women, in keeping with the tradition of the German bourgeois women's movement, refused to stand up primarily for women's interests and instead invoked the Volksgemeinschaft (community of the people), a vision of harmony and cooperation of the groups involved in production.

"In this excellent study, Raffael Scheck explores a series of fateful paradoxes that imperiled Weimar democracy: attachments to household and motherhood propelled women into the public arena; the mobilization of female voters strengthened the nationalist, anti-democratic Right; the effort to imbue middle-class parties with the virtues of the people's community only helped the Nazis; and the campaign to protect Christianity legitimized eugenic legislation. Scheck's great contribution is to trace so well the seams of Germany's political culture between 1918 and 1933."
Peter Fritzsche, author of Reading Berlin 1900 and Germans Into Nazis.

Alfred von Tirpitz and German Right-Wing Politics, 1914-1930 (Atlantic Highlands, 1998)
In a skillful combination of biographical case study and contextual anaylsis, Raffael Scheck presents a readable, often thrilling, account of German right-wing politics in the two decades before the rise of the Nazis and the role played in them by Great Admiral von Tirpitz. In examining that, he explains the predicament of the conservatives during the period.


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