Alexander Onassis, the only son of Aristotle Onassis and Athina(Tina) Livanos, was born in New York on the 20th of April 1948 and died on the 23rd of January 1973 in Athens, at the age of 24, after an airplane “accident”; most probably as a result of an organized attempt against his life and as a consequence of his father’s unlimited ambitions to reign supreme in the international business world as well as within his own family. Later on, we shall attempt as much as can be possible, to determine what exactly happened during this tragic day at the Athens’s airport and what may have been the possible causes for Alexander’s early death.
Some aspects of Alexander’s childhood years which would define his personality and his social behavior later on in his life, are the following. The Greek media tried time and time again(virtual reality and myth), in presenting the “the false picture” that Alexander”…had carefree childhood years…”(trans. from greek)(p.1. http://www.sansimera.gr/biographies/333 …), while the reality is completely different. Alexander Onassis never went to school, he had no childhood friends and the time he spent with his parents was very limited and chaotic, due to his parent’s priorities as influential members of the world’s entrepreneurial community(public relations, social self-exposure, social status) as well as his parents’ many extra-marital relations(p.1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Onassis). These are also some of the main reasons why Alexander was emotionally so close to his sister Christina, who was two years younger than him”…Alexander and Christina were extremely close. Their bond exceeded the normal ties of a brother and sister. They were bonded further by the shared traumas caused by a workaholic, obsessive and sometimes abusive father. Furthermore, it has been written that Tina had difficult relationships with her children, especially with Christina, from whom she expected particular perfection…”(p.1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Onassis). Taking into account all these horrific childhood experiences caused by two parents whose “prime concern” was certainly not their “offsprings” but wealth, power, business games and social status, meaning egocentrism and deep personal insecurities, these two children treated their parents with love and magnanimity, and were loyal to them until the end. Alexander and Christina were really two very good and kind children, even though they were also two very abused individuals.
The closest friends of Alexander were the household staff, while Huakinto Roza, the personal chauffeur of Aristotle Onassis was the person responsible for the supervision of Alexander while he was growing up, from guiding him how to drive a car to initiating him in his first sexual contacts with women. Alexander started very young in these two of his favorite pastimes(cars, women), two pastime activities which he greatly cherished all of his brief life, and two pastimes which he came to master superbly (p.1. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm). We could finally say, that these two great loves of his life, meaning motors(cars, airplanes, motor-boats) and beautiful mature women would in the long run, represent the two main causes for Alexander’s early departure from life. Even though Alexander had never acquired basic school training, from a very early age, due to his intelligence and inborn talent, he had a deep and wide knowledge about cars and about all types of motors; a multidimensional aptitude which had greatly impressed even Gianni Agnelli(1921-2003) then, who was the president and owner of the Italian car company Fiat (p.1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Onassis).
Aristotle was overjoyed by the news of the sexual performances of his son which he was receiving from his staff who were monitoring him; this due to the fact that as a “normal” Greek father this whole matter was a reflection on his personal “male status” as a healthy human breeder and secondly it was also a reflection on his son’s “breeding capacities”, the heir of his vast empire and the sole trustee of his “immortality”!!! Nonetheless, Aristotle Onassis again as a “normal” Greek father couldn’t easily accept his son’s “sexual prowess”, because within the “distorted” thought process of a modern Neanderthal, he saw a deadly opponent. These were the reasons why Aristotle Onassis, following “to the letter” the Greek Family Traditions, he tried constantly to humiliate and belittle Alexander on a personal level but also publicly, passing on to him those “black greek pearls” which go by the name “personal guilt feelings”, exactly like in the Jewish Family Traditions”…It was wonderful. The apple had fallen under the apple tree(old greek saying)! Aristotle was rubbing his hands contented as he was receiving the dispatches about his son’s sexual accomplishments. Alexander was truly a heir with a strong sperm and with fire in his heart, so much fire that when he was only 16 years old, he escaped with his female tutor from the “Baltimore Hotel” where he was studying, to spend a romantic vacation in Southern France. The consequences were that he had a marvelous time, spending a little more of his strong sperm but failed his exams at the Lycee de Paris. It was then that father Aristotle went overboard, shouting out that ‘ It is not worth for someone to spend precious money on a lazy child’…”(trans. from greek) (p.2. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm).
Alexander Onassis was neither lazy, stupid nor irresponsible, it was just that Aristotle had never provided him with those tasks and the trust to prove his many abilities and his trustworthy character. When in 1970, Alexander took over officially the management of Olympic Airlines, he was finally offered the opportunity to demonstrate how hardworking, creative and productive he was as an executive within the business interests of his father. The most critical proof of the business talents and potentials of Alexander Onassis was to be his personal initiatives to create in 1971 the Olympic Airlines’ air navigation section which would link many of the major Greek islands with Athens. It was a small subsidiary air-company of Olympic Airlines which utilized amphibian airplanes and helicopters for local air transportation to the Greek islands(p.3. http://www.armoniaradio.gr/modules.php?op=modload&name=New…). Naturally, this business initiative by Alexander Onassis was ingenious and was soon to prove very profitable due to the large number of foreign tourists who visited Greece every year, especially many of the Greek islands, but it wasn’t only this. Alexander personally administered every detail of this subsidiary air-company, many times flying himself these small amphibian aircrafts when circumstances demanded it, such as difficult weather conditions. Alexander in running this company, exercised a low-key and balanced attitude towards his employees and the union workers representing them, in contrast to his father’s despotic policies concerning the legal rights and demands of the people he employed. These crucial facts about a “socially privileged” young man should be taken seriously into account by today’s new generation, since from what I can see, they are even afraid to take some initiatives to counter the simplest of things which seriously impair the quality of their lives!!!
As we mentioned previously, Aristotle Onassis, as a “real” and “normal” Greek father, felt great jealousy towards his son, and these feelings were greatly intensified when Alexander not only proved himself an efficient and a dynamic entrepreneur but also a prodigious sexual partner. On these two of Alexander’s talents Aristotle Onassis converged his furry and aggression, creating powerful tensions in the psyche of his son; a deep desire to escape from his father’s stifling presence and adopting self-destructive habits such as driving his Ferrari sports car at very high speeds at night or piloting small-engine airplanes in hazardous weather conditions. Aristotle Onassis would constantly humiliate his son in front of his staff, questioning publicly and in an abusive way his son’s opinions, ideas or business proposals. A high executive of Olympic Airlines at that time, made the following assessment by saying that”… He (Aristotle Onassis) treated him (Alexander Onassis) with absolutely no respect. Aris (Aristotle Onassis) chose to sacrifice his feelings than to pass on a ‘iota’ of his vast empire to someone else. Instead of preparing his son to take over the reins, one could say that the only thing he had on his mind was how to destroy his son’s self-confidence…”(trans. from greek) (p.2. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm).
Alexander’s second strong point involved women; mature, rich, beautiful women who belonged to the world’s “jet set”. It seems that these women weren’t going out with Alexander just because he was a “rich boy”, as he personally did not dispose of any wealth or capital; but also because he was an intelligent, sensitive and charming young man with many interests. These were the qualities of Alexander which made Fiona Thyssen, a woman 16 years his senior, fall in love with him, ignoring the pressures and the financial weight of Aristotle Onassis. Fiona was a rich, beautiful and popular member of the “jet set”, and the first time Alexander met her was in one of his mother’s (Tina) night receptions at her villa in Saint Moritz, Switzerland. It was Alexander who had asked his mother to invite Fiona because he was very attracted to her and wanted an opportunity to get to know her.”…That night, Fiona would discover that the young man who idolized her was warm, tender, but most of all, he knew how to converse. This, in contrast to the majority of his peers who were inept and incompetent at having a serious dialogue…”(trans. from greek) (p.2. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm).
Fiona Thyssen (1932- ) was born in New Zealand and her family name was Campbell-Walter, but she kept the surname of her first husband, German Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen (1921-2002), one of the richest industrialists in Europe and the father of her two children. Fiona came from an upper-middle class British family, whose father was an admiral and her mother carried the British title of Dame. Fiona became world famous as a successful photo model for various world famous fashion designers and finally married the Baron Thyssen in 1956. They divorced in 1965,while they had two children together; daughter Francesca (1958- ) and son Lorne (1963- ). When Fiona divorced, her husband provided her with a large alimony and rich child support for their two children. As a consequence, when Fiona met Alexander, she was a wealthy woman and financially very independent; but most importantly, she had a very independent character, exactly like Alexander!!!
Aristotle Onassis tried “every trick in his book” to put an end to this love affair between his son and Fiona Thyssen; even his mother Tina, recognizing her son’s serious intentions for this beautiful, intelligent but financially independent mature woman clashed with him, reacting as a “normal” Greek mother who belonged to the powerful Greek Shipping Community. Tina’s dream was for him to marry”…a rich Greek virgin who came from a shipping family…”(trans. from greek) (p.3. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm). Love is one thing and business is quite another!!!
At first, Aristotle Onassis used aggressive means and coercion to force his son to abandon Fiona, but when he realized that Alexander wouldn’t buckle down and let go, he decided to employ a more dastardly strategy; he tried to prove to Alexander that the woman whom he thought adored him, was an ordinary “carpetbagger” of the expensive “salons” of the rich, who could be bought off at any time, therefore not fit to become his wife. During all of Alexander’s brief life, his father had imposed great limitations on his finances and expense account, but suddenly, Aristotle Onassis became very, very generous , to the point that he offered him a villa which he bought worth then almost 2 million dollars. Not only did Alexander and Fiona continually refuse to accept Aristotle’s generous money offers and the 2 million dollar villa, but Alexander took the “heroic step” and had plastic surgery done on his nose so that it wouldn’t look as “big” and “heavy” as that of his father’s. Aristotle’s strategy of control and dependency over his son did not succeed for two specific reasons. The first and the most important one was that Alexander had by his side an “experienced”, “intelligent” and a highly “independent” woman who “didn’t give a hoot” about social pressures and conformities. The second reason was that Alexander had an extremely wealthy mother who had divorced his father and who adored him, as much as he adored her. In relation to the 2 million dollar villa which Aristotle Onassis had offered his son at that time, Fiona made the following commentary to Alexander. She said to him”…My friend, I wouldn’t take one step into this house. Your father hasn’t bought this house just for you. He also bought it for your mistress. He wants to show that anyone can be bought off…”(trans. from greek) (p.2. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index6.htm).
Just a few months before Alexander’s airplane accident on the 22nd of January 1973, Alexander had made it official that he was permanently leaving Olympic Airlines because he wanted to free himself from the psychological war that his father was waging on him and also because he did not agree with the way that his father was treating his employees. At the same time, Alexander had taken the final decision to marry Fiona Thyssen and go and live at the house they had bought together in Western Europe, very, very far from Greece (p.1. http://www.men.gr/58/onasis/index8.htm).
Finally, we have to pose a very critical question. Was the airplane accident which killed Alexander on the 22nd of January 1973, at the age of 24, a mishap, a conspiracy by Aristotle’s powerful financial opponents or was it something more sinister and gruesome??? In the next part of our epilogue, we will examine all the parameters related to the tragic death of Alexander Onassis.
Alexander and Fiona