Συγγραφέας: Ioannidis Paul  

Quick Overview

During the early days of 1943, Paul Ioannidis, aged 18, joined the Resistance against the German occupation as part of the team of Nikiforos in the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) and subsequently, “Force 133,” an allied military unit operating in the mountains of occupied Greece. King George VI honored him for his bravery during the war with the King’s Medal for Courage (KMC) of the British Empire. He also received a certificate of commendation by the British Field Marshall Lord Alexander. He returned the medal and certificate on May 10, 1956 in protest on the very same day that the British hanged two freedom fighters in Cyprus.

He was trained as a fighter pilot at the then South Rhodesia RAF Training Center. He then served in the Royal Hellenic Air Force until 1947. Subsequently, he became a commercial pilot and joined the Greek Airline T.A.E., which was acquired by Aristotle Onassis in 1957 and renamed Olympic Airways. At Olympic Airways, the Greek national carrier, he served as Chief Instructor, Chief Pilot, Flight Operations Director and finally as Director General.

In his will, Aristotle Onassis appointed him a lifetime member of the Board of Directors of the “Alexander S. Onassis Foundation,” established in December 1975. He continued to fly with Olympic Airways until February 1984 when he retired. During this period he dealt also with the business activities of the Onassis Foundation, where he ultimately undertook the duties of Chief Executive Officer of Shipping and Com­mercial Operations.

Ioannidis also served as president of the Board of Directors of all companies owned by Christina Onassis. He was one of the executors of her will and a member of the Board of Administrators of the estate of her minor daughter, Athina. He has been honored with several distinctions.

Paul J. Ioannidis first met Aristotle Onassis in Cairo in 1956. The decorated resistance fighter quickly became one of Onassis’ most trusted business associates, eventually becoming the director general of Onassis-owned Olympic Airways and one of the founding board members of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation. For 56 years, he has worked with the Onassis Group - and has spent nearly 43 years as a close adviser and friend of the Onassis family, sharing a special relationship with Onassis’ children, Alexander and Christina.

For the first time, in English, Ioannidis tells his story, tracing back to his days as a rebel fighter against the Nazis. He also tells the story of how Onassis founded Olympic Airways, becoming one of only two men in the world at the time to own his own airline - the other was Howard Hughes. Like an ancient Greek tragedy, Onassis’ story unfolds, from losing his son and successor in a horrific plane accident to losing his own health before his daughter was ready to assume leadership of the business empire that he had built. Ioannidis is there when Onassis enters his dying son’s room; he’s at the controls on a private flight to Crete with opera singer Maria Callas, and he witnesses the strain between Onassis’ wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and his daughter, Christina, over the terms of Aristotle’s will. After Christina’s untimely death, he is one of four men who managed the estate of her minor daughter, Athina - an estate that prompted an intense legal struggle with her father, Thierry Roussel. With intimate details and documentation, this eyewitness reveals information about the saga of the Onassis family that has never before been published and is little known.

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