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From 1980-1992, El Salvador was torn apart by a brutal civil war, the legacies of which still linger today. The war claimed the lives of at least 75,000 civilians, many of them the victims of scorched earth massacres that wiped entire villages from the map; according to a United Nations Truth Commission, over 85% of these crimes were attributable to Salvadoran state forces and their aligned death squads. Yet decades later, no one has been held responsible for ordering these atrocities. Many Salvadorans are still searching for information about the fate of lost loved ones, seeking to recover their remains for reburial, or striving to honor their memory without fear of reprisals or recrimination. Read more about the history of El Salvador.



The Unfinished Sentences Testimony Archive currently contains more than 170 excerpts of oral histories from 48 individuals. You can browse testimonies grouped by broad historical themes by clicking on the chapter headings on the front page.  Click “Search” to browse all videos and sort by subject or location, or search for a specific word or phrase in the video transcripts.

Click the title link above the video frame to see more information about a video, including subject and location tags, summary, and a full transcription. Clicking an individual’s name will show all published excerpts of their testimony. Clicking a subject or location tag will show all videos with that tag. You can also view and share videos via YouTube by clicking on the title in the video frame.

All videos are presented with audio in Spanish and subtitles in English. Unfortunately, we are not currently able to provide subtitles in Spanish; however, all videos are accompanied by a full text transcript in Spanish and English. Click the “English” and “Español” links at the top of the page to switch languages.

Please contact to report any technical issues or major errors in translation, transcription, or subtitling.


All videos, transcripts, and written material associated with the Unfinished Sentences Testimony Archive are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This means that you may freely share or adapt these materials for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the Unfinished Sentences Testimony Archive and apply the same license to adapted works.