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Politics

Memorial Service for Aris Anagnos at UCLA Held on Oxi Day

October 30, 2018

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Hellenic community gathered together to memorialize the World War II veteran, real estate developer, political activist, and humanitarian Aris Anagnos at UCLA on October 28, Oxi Day. Speakers included The Honorable Michael Dukakis, Former Governor of Massachusetts; The Honorable Phil Angelides, Former Treasurer of California; the Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles Evgenia Beniatoglou; The Honorary Consul General of Cyprus, Andreas Kyprianides; Los Angeles Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo; Katie Hill, Congressional candidate and Executive Director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH); Lila Garrett, Poet, Radio Personality, and Former President ADA; Lydia Brazon, Vice President of Real Estate Directions; Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products; and Eleftheria Polychronis, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the American Hellenic Council.

Congresswoman Judy Chu presented Demos and Thalia Anagnos with a citation from the House of Representatives in honor of their father. The Greek American soprano Diana Post sang two arias for Anagnos, who was an opera lover, and the film producer Nikolette Orlandou showed a short documentary about his life. A powerful eulogy was offered by Thalia Anagnos, who encouraged those attending to follow her father’s footsteps in fighting injustice. Demos Anagnos served as master of ceremonies and welcomed the community to the memorial service on behalf of his family.

Aris Anagnos, born in Athens in 1923, dedicated his life to fighting for peace and justice, and for humanitarian causes, globally. After serving in the Allied Forces with the Greek Army in the Middle East during World War II, Anagnos came to the United States and obtained a BA in Business Administration at UCLA. Following his graduation, he pursued a successful career as a Real Estate Broker and Developer. Anagnos was active in community affairs, serving on the Board of Directors of the Southern California ACLU, including a term as President, co-founding the Humanitarian Law Project/ International Education Development Fund, and serving as President of the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action.

His philanthropic activities included a major donation to the Saint Sophia Foundation for the construction of a Senior Citizen Home and support of the PATH Regional Homeless Center. During the 1967-1974 military dictatorship in Greece, Anagnos and his late wife Carolyn organized a Committee for Democratic Freedoms in Greece, and in 1974 joined in founding the Save Cyprus Council, later renamed the American Hellenic Council, where he served continuously as Vice President and one term as President.

Aris and Carolyn were very active in peace and human rights movements in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, including brokering peace proposals in El Salvador and Nicaragua. For this work, Anagnos was awarded the Comandante Enrique Schmitt Medal, the highest Sandinista award for non-Nicaraguans, and the Ruben Dario Award, the highest decoration of the Nicaraguan Republic from President Daniel Ortega. Aris and Carolyn established the Peace Center in Los Angeles, which houses several peace and human rights organizations, and in 2008 Anagnos formally donated the building for this use, by establishing it as a non-profit foundation. Anagnos passed away on July 28 at the age of 95. He is survived by his children Demos, Thalia, Judy, Ellen, and Dan and their families.

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