Lauren Faulkner Rossi

Limited term Assistant Professor
Office: AQ 6011

Areas of Study: EUROPE


Future courses may be subject to change.


Born and raised in the Vancouver area, I did my undergraduate work here before moving to Rhode Island, where I completed my Ph.D. at Brown University. From 2009 until 2014, I was an assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.

My first book, Wehrmacht Priests, explores the motivations of German Catholic priests and seminarians who were conscripted into the military during the Second World War. For these men, their religious vocation was as important as their national identities, so I explore their training for the priesthood, their articulations about nationalism, and the religious and political authorities under whom they served. They were convinced that their presence on all fronts was both necessary and justified. I use wartime and post-war correspondence, observation reports, and interviews as well as the personal reflections of the Catholic chaplaincy’s second-in-command, Georg Werthmann, to show that these priests and seminarians were deeply Catholic but also staunchly German. Very few of these veterans came to see their wartime service as intrinsically problematic or wrong, or equated it with enabling the regime to wage a criminal and genocidal war.

My next project is an examination of a French prisoner-of-war camp in which operated a temporary seminary, called the “barbed wire seminary,” to help seminarians continue their training in captivity. With the collaboration of both French and German church authorities, as well as the French military administration, hundreds of German prisoners studied for the priesthood and were ordained on schedule. They then returned to Germany to aid in the physical and moral reconstruction of their country. My central question is the extent to the barbed-wire seminary represents a kind of grass-roots rapprochement between Germany and France, two countries that, until the end of the Second World War, were centuries-old enemies.

Research Interests

Modern Germany, modern Europe, modern Christianity/Church history, post-1945 Franco-German rapprochement, comparative genocide, religion and genocide.

Selected Works Published

  • Lessons and Legacies XII: New Directions in Holocaust Research and Education, (co-edited with Wendy Lower), Northwestern University Press, forthcoming February 2017.
  • Wehrmacht Priests: Catholicism and the Nazi War of Annihilation, Harvard University Press, March 2015.
  • “Franz Stock and the ‘Barbed-Wire Seminary’ at Le Coudray, France”, Contemporary Church History Quarterly 19/1 (March 2013).
  • Invited Book Review, “Survivors: Jewish Self-Help and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied Western Europe, by Bob Moore,” Journal of Modern History (March 2012).
  • Invited Book Review, “Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland, by Catherine Epstein,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 25/3 (Winter 2011).
  •  “Catholic Priests as German Soldiers: Georg Werthmann and the Military Chaplaincy under the Third Reich,” Contemporary European History 19/1 (January 2010).


  • ISLA Large Research Grant, University of Notre Dame, November 2012.
  • Francis Kobayashi Research Travel Grant, Office of Research, University of Notre Dame, April 2011.
  • Research Grant, Institute for the Study of Liberal Arts, University of Notre Dame, April 2011.
  • Richard M. Hunt Fellowship from the American Council on Germany, June 2009.
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Brown University, August 2008.
  • Teaching Fellowship, Brown University, August 2008.
  • Brown University Travel Fellowship, May 2006.
  • Humboldt University Exchange Fellowship, April 2006.
  • Simon Fraser University Graduate Fellowship, January 2003.