A short biography of a long, accomplished life

Antonis Samarakis was born in 1919 in Athens. He worked at the Labor Ministry but resigned in 1936 when General Metaxas brought in a dictatorship. In WWII, when studying law at Athens University, he joined a resistance organization. He was sentenced to death in 1944 for those activities but was able to escape. His most important writing was done in the 1960s and 1970s, after his first collection of short stories, «Zeitetai Elpis» (Hope Wanted), was published in 1954. He published four short-story collections and two novels. The second of these, «To Lathos» (The Flaw, 1965), was widely translated in Europe and won him the Grand Prix de la Litterature Policiere in France. When not allowed to travel to accept the award, he wrote «The Passport» in 1973. Later in life, he almost exclusively dedicated himself to working with children and young people. He was the first Greek to become a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. He set up a youth parliament in Greece and attended conferences of UNESCO and the International Labor Organization. He was also chosen in 1991 to represent his country as cultural ambassador for Medicins sans Frontieres. He died in 2003 at the age of 84. «European Day of Languages 2006» was dedicated to «Antonis Samarakis – a global man.»

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