Evangelos Averoff

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Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas

Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas (Greek: Ευάγγελος Αβέρωφ Τοσίτσας) (Trikala, April 17, 1910 – Athens, January 2, 1990) son of Anastasios, was a distinguished right-wing Greek politician of Aromanian origin and author of several books on political and historical topics.

Evangelos Averof got involved in public matters from very early on in his life and played a major role in Greek politics for almost 50 years. In 1940 he was appointed Prefect (regional governor) of Kerkyra (Corfu). During the tripartite Axis occupation of Greece, Averoff was taken hostage and imprisoned in Italy. He escaped a year later and created the "Freedom or Death" resistance group, which aimed to liberate Greek and Allied war hostages. In 1946, he was elected to the Greek Parliament as a representative of Ioannina and then went on to serve as deputy minister and minister of Supply, Economy and Agriculture. From 1956 to 1963 he served as Foreign Minister.

During the Greek military junta of 1967-1974, Averoff participated in one of the foremost acts of resistance against the government, the Velos mutiny, for which he was arrested as an "instigator". After the restoration of democracy in 1974 during metapolitefsi, Averoff participated in the New Democracy centre-right party under Konstantinos Karamanlis and served as Minister of National Defense in subsequent governments. In 1981 he was elected President of the New Democracy party, which was then the Major Opposition in Parliament,but had to leave his post due to health problems in 1984. In 1984 he was declared the party’s Honorary President. Parallel to his political career he became a prominent author of novels, short stories, theatrical plays, essays and historical analyses.

Evangelos Averoff has been a prominent author of political and historical works, such as "Customs Union in the Balkans" (1933), which the Carnegie Institute awarded, "Fire and Axe, 1944-1949" (1974) dealing with the Greek Civil War, and "A History of missed opportunities: The Cypriot Problem 1956-1963" (1981).

Historical tradition[edit]

For the people of Metsovo, Enagelos Averof is the last representative of a long tradition of local benefactors. He played a leading role in the founding of the Foundation of Baron Michael Tositsas, which he ran for 40 years, thus contributing greatly to the contemporary development of the town of Metsovo. Fulfilling the wish of Baron Michael Tositsas that the President of the Foundation bear his family name, he then added the surname Tositsas to his surname.

Enangelos Averof Foundation[edit]

He also founded the Evangelos Averof-Tositsas Foundation, to which he donated his significant personal collection of paintings by Greek artists of the 19th and early 20th century and build a gallery to house it. At the same time he invested in local vineyards cultivating the abandoned lands of Metsovo and creating a contemporary winery. After his death (1990) the people of Metsovo honored him by placing his statue in the town’s central square.

Critics[edit]

In her best-selling book, A Man, Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci accused Averoff of threatening to kill Greek MP Alexandros Panagoulis a few days before Panagulis' death in a car accident in Athens.[1] According to Oriana Fallaci, Averoff represented the link between the Greek Junta and the political system during the transition period following Metapolitefsi. In particular, Fallaci claims that Panagoulis was in possession of secret documents showing Averoff's direct involvement in brokering the transition from the Joannides Junta to a national unity government led by Konstantinos Karamanlis, keeping himself in charge of managing the relations between the democratic system and the Armed Forces.[2] Averoff's instrumental role in bringing about the appointment of Konstantinos Karamanlis has been confirmed by multiple sources, and Averoff became the Minister of Defense in the 1974 transition government.[3] According to Fallaci, other secret documents showed that Averoff had not taken part in the Greek Resistance during World War II, but instead had been a collaborator of the Italian occupation troops as well as one of the conspirators behind the Velos Mutiny in 1973, after which he apparently collaborated with the Junta and, as a result of his cooperation, was acquitted without charges.[4]

Sources[edit]

  • Evaggelos Averof-Tositsas 1908-1990, Evangelos Averoff-Tossizza Foundation, Metsovo 2000.
  • E. Chatzivasileiou, Evaggelos Averof Tositsas 1908-1990 – Political biography, Publ. I. Sideri, Athens
  • E. Averof – Tositsa, Me logismo kai m’oneiro, publ. Evangelos Averoff-Tossizza Foundation, 1991
  • G. Plataris, To Simeiomatari enos Metsoviti [The diary of a Metsovian], 1871-1943, Athens 1972, pp. 288-290


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Oriana Fallaci, Un Uomo. Rizzoli: 1979, p. 436
  2. ^ Oriana Fallaci, Un Uomo. Rizzoli: 1979, pp. 397–401
  3. ^ A long, happy summer night 30 years ago at the Wayback Machine (archived June 5, 2009) Athens News, 23 July 2004, page: A06. Retrieved 12 July 2013
  4. ^ Oriana Fallaci, Un Uomo. Rizzoli: 1979, p. 394
Political offices
Preceded by
Efstathios Latsoudis
Minister for National Defence of Greece
26 July 1974–19 October 1981
Succeeded by
Andreas Papandreou
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Rallis
President of New Democracy
1981 – 1984
Succeeded by
Constantine Mitsotakis