All photography by Alvaro Castellanos & Boris Castellanos
In April 2013, driven by a desire to make his story known to the world, we began developing a documentary film about the life and heroic deeds of our grandfather - Col. José Arturo Castellanos.
We began researching and developing for a film that would first explore the incredible journey of Col. Castellanos from obscurity to becoming one of the Righteous Among the Nations for his heroic and selfless rescue of thousands of lives. Then, while planning our return to El Salvador to shoot, our investigation took a painful turn. We found out that that our estranged father - Arturo Castellanos (Col. Castellanos’ son) had passed away without our knowledge. We would not get our chance to interview our father and ask him first hand what he knew about his father.
Still undeterred, our journey to reunite with the rest of our Castellanos family brought us to Italy - where José Arturo Castellanos attended military school; to Germany - where the consulate of El Salvador became the stage for his initial act of defiance by issuing Visas to victims of the Nazis in Hamburg; and to El Salvador where most of the remaining children of the Salvadoran hero reside today.
First hand accounts from survivors who survived the holocaust using the Salvadoran papers of freedom are of utmost importance to this film. This is why we travelled to Israel and New York to interview the known survivors who reside there. We are in a race against time to find other survivors in Europe, the US and Canada – but first we have to find them!
If you think that you or someone you know may have survived using a Salvadoran nationality paper please contact us.