Aristotle Onassis, son of Socrates and Penelope, was born in Smyrna in 1906. In 1922 he arrived in Greece as a refugee, and shortly thereafter emigrated to Argentina. In 1932 he bought his first ship, which he named Calliroe after his sister. In 1946 he married the daughter of the ship owner Stavros Livanos,  Athina (known as Tina) with whom he had two children: Alexander, who was born in Athens in 1948, and Christina, born in Athens in 1950. About ten years later, Onassis and Tina Livanos divorced. Onassis, thanks to his genius for business, very rapidly rose to be one of the world’s biggest shipping magnates, owning mainly oil tankers. He became a legendary figure, not only in worldwide financial circles but also in the eyes of ordinary people.

Aristotle bought the beautiful island of Skorpios opposite Nidri, in the 1960's. This part of the Ionian was his favourite place and the island is tied to  both the happy and the tragic moments of the Onassis family . Aristotle, his son Alexander and his daughter Christina, all rest in the private family church on the island.

Aristotle Onassis died in 1975 and his will bequeathed half of his estate for the establishment and operation of a Foundation. This was formed a few months after his death and named  after his son who lost his life prematurely, at the age of 25, in an air crash. This is called the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.


The executors formed two separate  Foundations : the Business Foundation, whose goals are to build on the commercial assets and the Public Foundation. Both these work to benefit so many charities and good causes including education, health and social welfare, culture, environment and many more, both in and out of Greece. The most  important public benefit project has been the construction of one of the most modern institutions of its kind, the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens.

To find out more about the good work of the Foundation and its ongoing  projects log on to www.onassis.gr


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