Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home History Department Full-Time Faculty Benjamin Hett

Benjamin Hett

Ph.D., Harvard University

Benjamin Hett was born in Rochester, New York but grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, leaving him with a lifelong if mostly heartbreaking attachment to the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL. He earned a BA in Political Science and English Literature from the University of Alberta (1987) and then a J.D. from the University of Toronto (1990). Four years of legal practice – it felt like eight – convinced him to return to the University of Toronto for an MA in History (1995) before he moved on to Harvard for a Ph.D. (2001). For two years he taught in the History and Literature program at Harvard alongside advising graduate students at the Harvard Law School. In 2003 he joined the faculty of Hunter College and in 2006 that of the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Hett’s work has gradually shifted from a focus on the theory and practice of criminal law in Germany, through the legacy of National Socialism in postwar Germany, to the Second World War on the Eastern front and the work of West German intelligence services in the 1950s. He is the author of three books (Death in the Tiergarten, 2004; Crossing Hitler, 2008; Burning the Reichstag, 2014) and a number of articles. Hett has been a recipient of the Hans Rosenberg Prize for the best article on German history by a North American scholar; the Fraenkel Prize from the Wiener Library in London; and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. 

List of Awards:

  • 2014: Hunter College Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity
  • 2009: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
  • 2009: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship
  • 2007: Ernst Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History from the Wiener Library, London, for Crossing Hitler.
  • 2005: Hans Rosenberg Prize from the Conference Group on Central European History, for the best article on German history by a North American scholar to appear in 2003 or 2004.
  • 2002: Harold K. Gross Prize from the Harvard University Department of History, for the best dissertation of the year.
  • 2002: Finalist for the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize from the German Historical Institute, for the best dissertation of the year from a North American graduate student.
  • 1999-2000: DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Doctoral Stipendium
  • 1996-2000: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship


Phone:  212-772-4382

Document Actions
History Department website feedback:
West Building Room 1512
(212) 772-5480 | email us
695 Park Ave
NY, NY 10065