Destiny Prevails

My life with Aristotle, Alexander, Christina Onassis and her daughter, Athina

by Paul J. Ioannidis

Before there were multimillionaires lurking around every corner of 57th Street in New York and buying up mansion blocks in London’s toniest neighborhoods, you used to be able to count the really rich on one, maybe two, hands.

And in that simpler epoch, Aristotle Onassis was the one of a few real self-made multimillionaires, toasted and admired by kings, politicians, and the global jet set, and the object of fascination of journalists and the world’s public.

His life may have seemed an open book, but there was so much going on behind the scenes. Always close by in Onassis’ later years was his trusted aide Paul Ioannidis, a decorated war hero and pilot who helped Onassis build Greece’s small domestic airline with just 15 (1 DC-4 and 14 DC-3s) aircraft into a major international airline, Olympic Airways. For nearly half a century, Ioannidis, who served as Director General of the Onassis-owned Olympic Airways and as one of the founding board members of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, shared a special relationship with Onassis as well as with his children, Alexander and Christina.

Paul J. Ioannidis’ memoir, DESTINY PREVAILS: My Life with Aristotle, Alexander, Christina Onassis and Her Daughter, Athina, recounts for the first time, the true, tragic saga of the Onassis family and their fortune estimated, at the time, at more than half a billion dollars.


“Onassis arrived in Athens around noon the next day accompanied by his wife, Jackie, and two American doctors – a neurologist and a cardiologist. Neurosurgeon Alan Richardson also arrived from London. Onassis tried to appear strong, but he was crushed inside. He saw doom setting in right before his very eyes. He was losing Alexander, who was his pride and joy, even if he never showed it. He was losing his successor and the man who would take over his empire. He went straight to his room and made the sign of the cross.”

Praise for Destiny Prevails

“The Onassis Foundation was built with flesh and blood! Therefore it is very important that this witness, Paul Ioannidis, the last one to see and hear these events, is here to depose the true facts, frankly and boldly.”

Dr. Anthony S. Papadimitriou
President Alexander S. Onassis Foundation

“A large part of the book describes the deep relationship of Ioannidis with Aristotle Onassis and with his two children, Alexander and Christina. In this connection, it also documents the history of Olympic Airways, from the laconic statement of Onassis to “just add one more circle’ when he was informed that the five Olympic circles were already patented by the International Olympic Committee, to the negotiations between Onassis and the Greek government which led to the nationalization of Olympic Airways. This book reveals the character of Onassis, in particular, his courage, his vision, and his toughness.”

Professor Athanasios Fokas
University of Cambridge and Academy of Athens

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