Sofoklis Venizelos

Sofoklis Venizelos (Greek: Σοφοκλής Βενιζέλος, also transliterated as Sophocles Venizelos) (3 November 1894 – 7 February 1964) was a Greek politician, who three times served as Prime Minister of Greece – in 1944 (in exile), 1950 and 1950–1951.

Sofoklis Venizelos
Sophoklis Venizelos, 1921.png
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
21 August 1950 – 27 October 1951
Preceded byNikolaos Plastiras
Succeeded byNikolaos Plastiras
In office
23 March 1950 – 15 April 1950
Preceded byIoannis Theotokis
Succeeded byNikolaos Plastiras
In office
14 April 1944 – 26 April 1944
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byEmmanouil Tsouderos
Succeeded byGeorgios Papandreou
Personal details
Born3 November 1894
Chania, Ottoman Crete
(Now Greece)
Died7 February 1964 (aged 69)
Aegean Sea
Political partyLiberal Party
Venizelos (standing right) with his father and Ms. Kathleen Zervudachi, 1921

Life and careerEdit

Venizelos was born on 3 November 1894 in Chania, in Crete (then a part of the Ottoman Empire; became an autonomous state under Ottoman suzerainty and the protection of Russia, Britain, France and Italy in 1898). He was the second-born son of the politician Eleftherios Venizelos.

During World War I he served with distinction in the Greek Army and in the initial phases of the Asia Minor campaign, reaching the rank of Captain of Infantry.

He resigned from the Army and was elected as an MP with his father's Liberal Party in the 1920 elections.

In 1941, after the Axis occupation of Greece, he became ambassador to the United States, representing the Greek government in exile based in Cairo. He became a minister of that government in 1943 under Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsuderos, and briefly its Prime Minister in 1944 (April 13–26).

After the end of the war, he returned to Greece; where he became Vice President of the Liberal Party (led by Themistoklis Sofoulis) and a minister in the first post-war government led by Georgios Papandreou.

In 1948 he assumed the leadership of the party and became a minister in a number of short-lived liberal governments led by Papandreou and Nikolaos Plastiras; he was also the Prime Minister of two such governments.

In 1954 his longtime friendship with Georgios Papandreou was shaken, and he formed the rival Liberal Democratic Union coalition.

The rift was bridged in 1958, and in 1961 he became a founding member of Papandreou's Center Union party, which he served until his death in 1964.

Venizelos died on the passenger ship Hellas in the Aegean Sea, en route from Chania to Piraeus. His grave lies next to his father's on the island of Crete.[1] His wife Kathleen died in 1983 aged 86.


Venizelos was a contract bridge player "of international stature" during the 1930s, as a voluntary exile in France.[2] He played for France in the European IBL Championships (later incorporated in the history of present-day European Bridge League championships).[3] France won the 1935 tournament and a version of the team[a] traveled to New York City late that year for a match against the Four Aces, "an unofficial world championship match" that the Aces won.[2]

Venizelos was second in skill to Pierre Albarran among contemporary French players, according to Alan Truscott. Beside the national teams at contract bridge, they both played on a 1933 team that hosted an American foursome led by Ely Culbertson in a long match at "plafond, the French parent of contract bridge, which differed only in the scoring details."[2] The two teams played 102 deals to a draw;[2] Albarran and Venizelos cooperated on a book reporting and analysing the match:

  • Les 102 donnes d'un grand match, by Pierre Albarran, Adrien Aron, and Venizelos, preface by Ely Culbertson (Éditions Grasset, 1933), 188 pp., LCCN 33-38010

Albarran, Aron, and Venizelos were three of six players on the 1935 European champion team.[4][a]

Venizelos/Mitsotakis family treeEdit

Main members of the Venizelos/Mitsotakis/Bakoyannis family.[6] Prime Ministers of Greece are highlighted in light blue.
Kyriakos Venizelos [la]
Styliani Ploumidaki
Eleftherios Venizelos
Katigo Venizelou
Constantine "Costis" Mitsotakis [el]
Kyriakos Venizelos [el]
Sofoklis Venizelos
Kyriakos Mitsotakis [el]
Stavroula Ploumidaki[7]
Nikitas Venizelos
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Marika Giannoukou
Pavlos Bakoyannis
Dora Bakoyannis
née Mitsotaki
(b. 1954)
Kyriakos Mitsotakis
(b. 1968)
Kostas Bakoyannis
(b. 1978)


  1. ^ a b Aron and Joseph Broutin did not make the trip to New York, and only one substitute replaced them: "Emanuel Tulmaris, retired Trieste banker and a bobsled enthusiast". The American star Oswald Jacoby missed at least the opening night.[5]


  1. ^ Sophocles Venizelos at Find a Grave
  2. ^ a b c d "Bridge: Venizelos's Death Recalls Prowess as Bridge Player". Alan Truscott. The New York Times. 26 February 1964. Page 32.
  3. ^ "European National Teams Championships" Archived 2014-05-02 at the Wayback Machine. European Bridge League ( [EBL]. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  4. ^ "Team Members" (France open team). 4th European Team Championships: Brussels, Belgium, 1935. EBL. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  5. ^ "Jacoby too Ill to Play". The New York Times. 12 December 1935. Page 33.
  6. ^ Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography – Roots". Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  7. ^ Stavroula Ploumidaki is also a first cousin, once removed, of Eleftherios Venizelos

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Emmanouil Tsouderos
Prime Minister of Greece
April 13, 1944 – April 26, 1944 (in exile in Cairo)
Succeeded by
Georgios Papandreou
Preceded by
Ioannis Theotokis
Prime Minister of Greece
March 23, 1950 – April 15, 1950
Succeeded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Preceded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Prime Minister of Greece
August 21, 1950 – November 1, 1951
Succeeded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Preceded by
Philippos Manouilides
Minister for National Defence of Greece
21 August – 9 September 1950
Succeeded by
Konstantinos Rendis
Preceded by
Alexandros Sakellariou
Minister for National Defence of Greece
10 April – 24 July 1952
Succeeded by
Georgios Mavros