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Rufina Amaya

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  • Rufina Amaya was born in 1943-March 6, 2007.
  • Rufina was a sole survivor of the Mozote massacre durning the Salvadoran Civil War.
  • After reporting and hearing that Rufina Amaya was the only and last survivor of the massacre there was an investigation by the U.S journalism community and the United States and El Salvador government.
Photo by D-Stanley


  • She had hidden behind a tree while soldiers were distracted. During this time Rufina saw the government soldiers raping a women, killing men, woman and children and “finishing them off” by burning their bodies.
  • Amaya lost her neighbors, husband, three daughters ages 5, 3 and 8 months old and worst off all she watched her son die saying, “Mama their killing me”.
Photo by Felipe Dias

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  • Rufina only had one child alive and that was her daughter Fidelia, who was not in the village at the time.
  • The investigation ended at 1992 when bodies were buried.


  • Rufina knew she eventually had to move on from this terrible event. She decided to move to Honduras to become a refugee.
  • Rufina traveled with her daughter Fidelia (her only companion at the time).
Photo by nan palmero


  • In 1985 Rufina married José Natividad who was a refugee as well.
  • José and Rufina had four kids but got divorced two years after the marriage.


  • After her divorce, Rufina returned to El Salvador and became a lay minister for the Roman Catholic Church in 1990.
  • This was a very hard time for Rufina because she had to be back where a terrible event occurred that killed her family and friends.
Photo by D-Stanley


  • Rufina Amaya lived her life in El Salvador with her children. If Rufina Amaya didn’t have the strong qualities of being fierce, brave and tough you would have never survived what she went through.

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  • Rufina worked hard everyday to take care of her children, work and most importantly make sure she was in a healthy state of mind considering all that she went through.
  • Without Rufina’s children that lived; Fidelia (the oldest), Marta (the youngest) and Walter (adopted) she would have never survived.

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  • Rufina Amaya died of a stroke in the San Salvador hospital on March 6, 2007.
  • Rufina was 64 when she passed away.
  • Rufina Amaya’s death was very tragic for people who knew her, met her or even for Salvadorians.

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  • “Rufina Amaya will be remembered in El Salvador because she is now part of their history. She is now part of our country too.” - Washington Post