Helen Vlachos, Greek newspaper publisher and columnist; born December

18, 1911, died October 14, 1995

HELEN Vlachos, who published one of Greece's leading dailies and

defied the dictatorship that suspended democracy, was buried with full

state honours in Athens on Monday. She had died two days previously,

aged 84, after a long illness. Members of the Socialist Government,

political party leaders, and hundreds of journalists attended her

funeral at Athens's First Cemetery.

Known for her tenacity, Helen Vlachos was born in 1911, the only child

of George Vlachos who in 1918 founded the highly respected Kathimerini,

a morning paper compared to the New York Times. Helen Vlachos was seven

years old at the time and politics and publishing were to dominate her

life. Indeed she once described the Kathimerini as ''a younger sister

and the most important member of the family''.

Though first employed as a book-keeper by her father, she turned to

writing with a series of articles on the Far East, and continued with

her admired coverage of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After the Second World

War -- in which her father had refused to co-operate with the Nazi

occupation -- Vlachos was given her own column in the Kathimerini. Its

immediacy and wit made it instantly popular, a popularity that was to


When her father died in 1951, Vlachos took over as publisher and

started writing bi-weekly columns chastising the government of the day.

She then founded an afternoon daily and also launched a magazine, along

the lines of Life.

When the military junta seized power in April, 1967, Vlachos closed

her publications to avoid censorship. After describing one of the ruling

army colonels as ''a clown'' five months later, she was placed under

house arrest. Later the same year she fled to London, where she was

granted political asylum and from there she continued her struggle

against the dictatorship until it collapsed in July 1974.

Vlachos returned to Athens and restarted the Kathimerini six weeks

later. She accepted for a while a parliamentary seat offered to her by

New Democracy, the party created by her friend Constantine Karamanlis,

who served as premier and president of Greece for over 20 years. She was

not, however, particularly happy as a politician, insisting that she was

first and foremost a journalist.

She was the author of several books written in English and Greek. In

her book in English titled Under House Arrest Vlachos gave a dramatic

account of how she managed to escape from arrest by dying her hair,

borrowing a friend's passport, and flying to London. A collection of her

columns was published in English under the title Mosaics.

Vlachos sold the Kathimerini in 1987, citing publishing difficulties

and changing political life styles. However, she continued to write a

weekly column for the new owner till failing health eased her into

retirement, which she spent between her two homes in Athens and London.

She loved Britain -- according to her friend and fellow Greek, the

author Mark Dragoumis -- and admired the British for their restraint,

their tongue-in-cheek comments, and their common sense.

He recalls her as a delightful person, an excellent listener who was

immediately able to go to the heart of things and make her points

directly and wittily, though she did not suffer fools gladly. ''She will

be dearly missed by all who knew her, even by those who had often

clashed with her,'' Mr Dragoumis says.

Vlachos married twice but did not have children. Her husband,

Constantine Loundras, survives her. She was an admirer of the former

King Constantine of Greece and he has personally expressed his

condolences to the family in a telegram.