Helen (Eleni) Kazantzakis, wife of world-famous writer Nikos Kazantzakis, died 18 February 2004 in an Athens hospital at the age of one hundred. She was born in 1903 and met Nikos Kazantzakis in 1924 (the year of the inset photogrpaph) when she was twenty years old and he was fourty-one. They lived together for twenty years before they got married in November 1945. Their best man was Angelos Sikelianos. Since 1946 they went on a self-imposed exile and lived in south France.
She was a writer herself but she chose to promote the work of her beloved husband. Her most important book was Nikos Kazantzakis' biography based on unpublished letters and texts. She also wrote a book on Mahatma Gandhi and Panait Istrati, as well as a book on China. She worked as a journalist wrote many poems and gave a number of lectures and speeches in universities, as well as radio and television interviews on Kazantzakis and Greece.
After her husband's death she left France and moved to Geneva. During the seven-year junta in Greece she went to Cyprus and was arrested by the Turks when they invaded the northern part of the island. Since 1989, after a serious accident in Geneva, Helen Kazantzakis moved to Athens where she stayed with her adopted son in Voula, near Athens.
[Megakles Rogakos 09/2004]
KAZANTZAKIS, HELEN Nikos Kazantzakis: A Biography Based on his Letters 1968 Simon & Schuster, New York