In 1983 Jean-Jacques Goldman declared: "The idea for the song came to me when I was looking at a family album of my mother, who was born in Germany, where there were the most banal family photos possible. You know, with little girls, people after a meal, with silly smiles, like in all the family photos in the world. My mother had marked "deported" next to my cousins in brackets, underneath each photo. That's when I realized that there was this little girl standing there, looking away, obviously thinking of going to play with her doll, while being told "smile!" "Well, I don't know if this little girl's name is Sarah, but her face still exists to me."
This song has been harmonized by Jean Golgevit so that it can be sung by choirs of all levels.