Sarah Ernst (they/them/theirs) is a third-year student advised by Wolf Gruner. Their current dissertation project looks at the experience of queer individuals during the Third Reich and beyond, considering how they experienced belonging within their intersecting identities. They are interested in focusing on the journeys of queer Jewish, Sinti/Roma, and disabled perosns. Outside of this, their research interests include 20th-century queer history in Europe and its transnational relationship with the United States, disability history/history of madness, and cultural history.

Sarah received their B.A. in History and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2020 from Brandeis University. While there, they completed a Senior Honors Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Weiss Muller entitled, “You Mean Something Absolutely Vital to Me”: An Insight into the Lived Experiences of Female Companions to Hysterics in England in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.” This research looked at hysteria and the personal and social impacts of it for women in non-heteronormative relationships.


  • BA Brandeis University
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    I am interested in queer history in Europe in the twentieth-century, with a transnational approach and connection to the queer community in the United States. I am looking to explore how queer individuals found belonging, their movement, and the memory of their history. I am also interested in the history of “madness” and the ways in which non-heteronormative persons were treated and remembered.

    Research Keywords

    Modern Europe/Germany/Third Reich/Holocaust and Genocide Studies/Queer History/Madness/AIDS Epidemic

    Research Specialties

    Modern Europe; Queer History; Disability Studies; Gender and Sexuality; Memory Studies; Holocaust and Genocide Studies

  • Conference Presentations

    • “No Kiss”: Hysteria and (Sex) Panic in the Diaries of Anne Lister (1791-1840) SEX Pan!cs , 2023-2024
    • Queer Belonging and Annette Eick German Studies Association , 2023-2024
    • McVicar Scholarship Fund, 2023-05-2023/08
    • USC Ralph and Jean Hovel Memorial Summer Travel Award, 2023-05-2023/08
    • German Historical Institute Thyssen Fellowship, 2022-05-2022/08
    • USC Ralph and Jean Hovel Memorial Summer Travel Award, 2022-05-2022/08
    • Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation Fellow, 2022-06-2022/07
  • Committees

    • Member, Multidisciplinary Intersectional Approaches to the Study of Violence and Trauma Research and Writing Group, 2021-2022
  • Professional Memberships

    • German Studies Association, 2023 –
    • American Historical Association, 2022 –
    • Committee on LGBT History, 2022 –

    Other Service to the Profession

    • Chair for Panel 5, “Forcible Adoption and Transfer of Children” of the “Mass Violence and Its Lasting Impact on Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Americas and Australia/Pacific Region” Conference at USC., Fall 2023
    • Chair for Panel 2 “Informal Knowledge Distribution” of the “Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks During and After the Holocaust” workshop at USC, 4/4/2022-4/5/2022., Spring 2022