Raffael Scheck

John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Chair in History
History Department
Colby College
Waterville, Maine 04901-8853 (USA)

E-mail: [email protected]

Raffael Scheck (2021)

I have published six books and many articles on German history at the time of the world wars. My book Hitler’s African Victims (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 [hardcover] and 2008 [paperback]) was translated into French (2007) and German (2009). It sparked an investigation by the German office for Nazi crimes, and I was interviewed for the documentary “Les 43 tirailleurs” (by Mireille Hannon) in 2010 and by C-SPAN’s book tv program in September 2012. My following book, French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity during World War II (Cambridge University Press, December 2014), deals with French colonial prisoners of war in German POW camps, 1940-45, examining the conditions of their captivity, the struggle of the German and French authorities for the loyalty of these prisoners, and the influence of the prisoners’ experiences on the postwar move toward independence in the colonies.

In 2020, I was interviewed for the Netflix series The Road to Victory: World War II in Color for the episodes “Dunkirk,” “The Invasion of North Africa,” and “The Liberation of Paris,” released on 22 December 2021. (Note: I had no influence on the script.)

In 2011, I identified an anonymous manuscript of a Senegalese soldier in German captivity as having been written by Léopold Sédar Senghor, the eminent French-Senegalese poet, cultural philosopher, and first president of the Republic of Senegal (1960-1980). The French newspaper Le Monde and the magazine Jeune Afrique interviewed me about this discovery, as did the Colby Magazine and French journalist Ivan Amar (for Radio France Internationale).

My most recent book, Love Between Enemies (January 2021 with Cambridge University Press), deals with love relations of French, Belgian, and British prisoners of war and German women during the Second World War. I have also studied Raphael Lemkin’s analysis of Nazi-occupied Europe and his development of the concept of genocide.

I am now working on a history of the German campaign in western Europe in May-June 1940, under contract with Hoffmann & Campe (in German).

I was born in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) and grew up in Germany, Israel, and (mostly) in Switzerland (first in Geneva, later near Zürich). I started out as a cello student at the conservatory in Zürich but then decided to study History at the University of Zürich and Brandeis University (USA). I have a Habilitation Degree from the University of Basel (2003). I am a German citizen (I point this out because French newspapers discussing my book on the massacres of black French soldiers often claimed that it took an “American” historian to uncover this crime). Since 1994, I have taught modern European and German history at Colby College, where I also served as chair of the History Department (2000-2003, 2005-2008, 2015-16), as director of the Jewish Studies program (2011-14 and 2016-17), and as chair of the German & Russian Department (2017-18). I play the cello and frequently perform in concerts, especially on baroque cello.


•   See my curriculum vitae.

•   See webinar with Liz Friend-Smith about my sixth book, Love between Enemies: Western Prisoners of War and German Women in World War II

•   See information on my book French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity during World War II.

•   See information on Hitler’s African Victims. It is translated into French (Une Saison Noire) and German. The weekly Die Zeit published a summary in 2006 (“Keine Kameraden” – in German).

•   Go to the publisher’s page for my second book, Mothers of the Nation (2004).

•   See the advertisement for my first book (Alfred von Tirpitz and German Right-Wing Politics, 1914-1930) at the Colby Bookstore and get a summary of its content.

• The virtual textbook on Germany and Europe, 1871-1945, no longer exists at this site; please see my (print) book with Berg Publishers in Oxford: Germany 1871-1945: A Concise History.

•   Interviews from August 2019 with BBC and Le Monde on the anniversary of the Allied landing in Provence and the liberation of Paris (August 1944).

•   Recipe for my Linzertorte.

•   I play the cello with a specialization in baroque cello and co-founded the ensemble ScheckMate with theorbo and guitar player Timothy Burris, who teaches lute and theorbo at Colby. Here is a recording of a Portland Conservatory Noontime concert we did on 1 December 2022. I also play in the Scheck Duo and occasionally the Kennebec Quartet (pictures from 2007).

Pictures from the past (Sophia 2009, Adelia 2003, Anselm 2003, me 2013, me with cello 2019):




Go to Colby College Home Page.

March 6, 2019