Elias Venezis

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El. Venezis, An. Terzakis, Str. Myrivilis, Thr. Kastanakis
The Generation of 1930. Standing from left: Thanasis Petsalis, Elias Venezis, Odysseus Elytis, Giorgos Seferis, Andreas Karantonis, Stelios Xefloudas, Giorgos Theotokas. Sitting: Angelos Terzakis, K. T. Dimaras, Giorgos Katsibalis, Kosmas Politis, Andreas Empirikos

Elias Venezis was a Greek writer. He was born Elias Mellos in 1904 in Ayvali (Κυδωνίες) of Asia Minor, the son of Michail Mellos and Vasiliki Bibela.

The Mellos family fled to Lesbos, Greece during the First World War to escape persecution but returned to Ayvali in 1919 after the Greek army landed in Asia Minor in the aftermath of the great war.

Venezis graduated high school in Ayvali but immediately afterwards was taken hostage by the Turks and sent for 14 months to work in forced-labour brigades. Later in his most famous work, Number 31328, he would describe the conditions under which he had to live during that time. Out of 3,000 Ayvali men sent, only 23 survived. Among them was Elias Venezis who left his homeland for Mytilene, capital of Lesbos.

In Greece, Venezis found employment as a bank employee but also developed his talent in writing. His works mostly concern life in Asia Minor: "Aeolian Land" describes the world of the writer as a child; "Number 31328" as a teenager and "Tranquility" his struggle to adjust to life in Greece.

Venezis married Stavritsa Molyviati, also from Ayvali, in 1938. During the German occupation, Venezis was imprisoned but was released after pleas from high-standing Greek officials including Archbishop Damaskinos.

After the war, Venezis continued writing books and a column in conservative daily "Acropolis". He was a member of the Athens Academy, President of the Thessaloniki Cinema Festival, a member of the board of the National Theatre and Vice-President of the board of the Greek-American Union.

He died in Athens on August 3, 1973.

Books

  • Aeolian Land (Αιολική Γη)
  • The Number 31328 (Το Νούμερο 31328)
  • Tranquility (Γαλήνη)
  • Exit (Έξοδος)
  • Time for War (Ώρα Πολέμου)
  • Ocean (Ωκεανός)

See also