Ellen Siegel

Remembering Sabra and Shatila -- and Atoning

“Last year, 20 years after the massacre, I returned to Beirut to be part of the commemorative events. I was there during Yom Kippur. I tried to find the remaining Jews of Beirut, but could not. I wanted to spend this day with them. Instead I went to the Khiam detention center — a place where Palestinians and Lebanese were held during the Israeli occupation of the south, many of them tortured. It was fitting to be in a place where one could ask for forgiveness for the sins committed in this horrendous chamber of horrors by my people.” Ellen Siegel, a registered nurse and an active member of the US Jewish peace movement, examines Yom Kippur’s meaning from a unique angle. 

An open letter to the survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre

Ellen Siegel is a registered nurse. She volunteered her services at the Gaza Hospital in Sabra Camp in Beirut in 1982, and was there during the massacre. She testified, as a witness, before the Kahan Commission of Inquiry in Jerusalem. This is a letter she wrote to her friends and fellow massacre survivors and witnesses in Beirut in the wake of Belgium’s decision to weaken its universal jurisdiction (anti-atrocity) legislation in response to pressure from the US Government.