Sarah Pabst – Zukunft

My grandmother 1938, 18 years old.

Sarah Pabst



I was still standing on a northern corner.
Moonlit winter clouds the color of the desperation of wolves.
Proof of Your existence? There is nothing but.
(Franz Wright)

Between 1933-1945 Germany and many parts of Europe were dominated by Nazism and World War II. 72 years later, the traumatic experiences of this period are still present in Europe. Memories are associated with pain, violence and threat. In Germany in particular, this legacy took the form of guilt in post-war generations, ashamed by the events and their place in history. This work is traversed by that history. My grandparents survived the war and just as many of their generation they have passed away and now their memories will soon be part of the past.

I always ask myself, what if. What if I had been born at the same time as my grandmother, what if the Waffen-SS had hanged my grandfather for running away with young Rumanian prisoners of war, what if the US-troops had arrived some hours later? Future is unpredictable, things can turn either way. What if my sister had been married to a jew not now but 80 years ago? And questions one can’t answer – Why are people capable of deporting children, men, women, entire families to their sure death?



My project is a series of questions, of a past that lives in us, of wounds we inherit from our forefathers. I heard their stories of life, suffering, hunger, guilt and death, and not only obedience but also resistance against the Nazi regime. Finally, these memories, their memories, became part of mine. Through them, I build and shape my own ones, the past, the present and thereby, also the future.


In September 2016 my brother died of sudden cardiac death. Suddenly, future came down on us. This project is dedicated to him.


Short Bio

Sarah is a German-born (1984) documentary photographer and painter based in Buenos Aires, Argentina since 2013. Besides her personal intimate work she mainly focuses on women and identity topics. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Her work has received international recognition being a finalist in Arles’ Voies Off, Athens Photo Festival, Organ Vida Festival, Nano Festival and the Gomma Grant, all 2017. She was nominated for the JS Masterclass twice. She was a winner of the Portfolio Revisions at FoLa and selected twice for Descubrimientos Photo España. In 2015 she won a 3rd Prize at the POY LATAM and the Canon Profifoto Grant 2014. Her work was published in California Sunday Magazine, GUP, Bloomberg, Vice, Lensculture, Le Monde Dipl., and Juxtpoz, among others.

She owns a masters degree in Fine Arts and Spanish (University of Cologne and Wuppertal, 2011) where she also worked as an adjunct lecturer from 2012-15.


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The Emerging Photographer Fund is supported by generous donors to the Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation

2 Responses to “Sarah Pabst – Zukunft”

  • I was fascinated, beginning to end. I wonder what the odds are that one of the bombs that fell on your grandmother’s house was dropped by my father?

    Tiny in reality, but huge in a symbolic way.

    My favorite, so far.

  • When you finish, I want to hold the book in my hands. I want to spend hours at a time, looking at it.

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