My name is Sarah Nemtsov. I’m a freelance composer – and live with my husband, the pianist and music scholar Jascha Nemtsov and our two children in Berlin.
Where did the idea for your portrait’s staging and setting come from?
We met Frédéric Brenner in the spring of 2017 and launched straight into an intensive dialogue. Frédéric also told us about his idea of capturing Jewish life in Berlin in photographs. At some point he asked us if he could also take our portrait. But then the photos happened on the spur of the moment, one morning in the summer of 2018. Frédéric visited us and actually wanted to discuss and prepare for a future photo session. He then took a few test photos (which we weren’t prepared for, as the breakfast table shows) and in the end, it was those photographs – neither we nor Frédéric needed to go ahead with the original shoot we had planned.
How do you experience Jewish life in Berlin?
Diverse, hopeful, but also strained.
Describe your life in Berlin in three adjectives.
Perhaps a similar list even: intensive, inspiring, and diverse, but the city can also be strenuous, loud, and harsh.
What would your wish be for the future of Jewish life in Berlin?
More safety and – the word is forced and it seems impossible – normalcy (history can’t be stripped away and traces, shadows remain in place – perhaps the word normalcy reflects a desire for a relaxed sense of privacy, an affirmative inconspicuousness).
Jewish Museum Berlin (2021), Sarah Nemtsov. Interview and Photo from the Frédéric Brenner – ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES Exhibition Opening.