About The Author

William Planes

“William Planes was surprised…his grandchildren knew about his parents, grandparents and great grandparents…

..So he wrote a book…his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents “Platanides: Through the Eye of the Storm” is the true story of his father, Panayiotis Platanides who, at 14, survived the genocide of Greek Christians in 1922 Asia Minor.

The story explores the power of the Greek Orthodox faith that helped him and his family overcome and move beyond the atrocities they faced.

“I felt that what I had learned from my father and what the experience of these people were, our forefathers, are very important to what I had become,” Planes said, when asked why he wrote the book.

Asia Minor

Panayiotis Platanides was born in 1908 to Fotis and Kyriaki Platanides in Alasehir, Asia Minor, later Turkey.

The Orthodox Church was always present while he was growing because of where they lived and his parents and forefathers were Orthodox Christians.

During the middle ages, Alasehir was known as the city of Philadelphia and the church there was one of the seven named by Apostle John in the Book of Revelations.

Panayiotis, his sister and a brother were baptized at the church in Alasehir.

Two of Panayiotis’ other brothers were baptized at the church in Smyrna, Asia Minor, also one of the churches in the Book of Revelations.

Asia Minor was the epicenter of Hellenism from the early Christian and Byzantine periods to the early 20th century. It is where the Great Cathedral of St. Sophia is located.

The family had been living in Asia Minor, the ancestral home of people of Greek heritage, for centuries.

The Platanides family had survived the Ottoman Empire, under the rule of the Muslims and survived World War I.

“They all managed to survive earlier conflicts and live among one another,” Planes stated in the book.

Settling in Crete

Book Explores How Others in the family, like Planes’ paternal grandfather, were interred at an immigration camp for two years in Greece before settling in Crete.
There, members of the family faced Nazi occupation in World War II.
Two of Planes’ uncles were sentenced to death by the Gestapo for their part in Guerilla efforts to overthrow the German army in Crete. They were saved by the Armistice. “The war was over just moments before they were to be executed,” Planes said. This book is a story of how one Man’s Faith Triumphed Over the Greek Genocide in Asia Minor

The Genocide

But then in September 1922, the radical Muslim troops of Moustapha Kemal, Ataturk, victorious in Asia Minor against the retreating Greek army in the Greco-Turkish War, conducted a genocide of Greeks and Armenians Christians in Asia Minor.

At the time, Fotis and Kyriaki wanted Panayiotis to be educated and were making arrangements for him to travel to his uncle’s home in America, where he would go to college, become a doctor and return to his family to practice medicine in Alasehir. Instead, the city of Alasehir was burned and a 14-year-old Panayiotis found himself facing down Muslim soldiers who wanted to kill his father, mother and sister.  

“How does a 14-year-old boy muster the nerve to stand up to armed soldiers? He gets it through his faith in Christ,” Planes said. “My father witnessed Ataturk coming to the cathedral in Smyrna to desecrate the church. He witnessed the Archbishop Chrysostomos standing in the door and resisting,” Planes said. “Soldiers tortured and murdered the archbishop, who was later venerated and canonized as Saint Chrysostomos of Smyrna.”

Planes said “My father witnessed the martyring of a saint,”

Planes said. “Panayiotis survived the genocide; he ended up in America.

Life in America

Planes’ maternal grandmother and grandfather had been in America since the early 1900s. His grandfather took a job as a shoe black on the streets of Boston, a person who shines shoes, the lowest class job you could have, Planes said.
“But my grandfather wanted to feed his family, he worked and did not take hand-outs.”
During WW-II Planes’ father was able to give his father-in-law a job blocking hats and repairing shoes at a shop on Times Square.

Meet The Author

William Planes

William Planes was born in New York and raised in Folly Beach, South Carolina and Coral Gables, Florida.
In high school he discovered chemistry and physics and entered the University of Miami as a pre-med student.
But Planes discovered he liked accounting more.
He switched to Florida State University at the request of his mother to keep an eye on his sister who was enrolled there. Planes ended up joining the fraternity Sigma Chi and pursuing an accounting degree.
He was one course short of graduating when he was called up for active duty in the Marine Corps, where he transferred to a special program with the Navy.
He completed his accounting degree through a correspondence course while on active duty in the Navy.
Planes got into the business of acquiring troubled companies, restructuring them, then reselling them. The profitable work meant he could invest in many good works for the church.

2023 London Hellenic Prize

This Prize is an international award committed to promoting Anglo-Hellenic cultural exchange through the recognition of an original literary work. The 2023 award is made to the author of a book written, or translated into, English which on a subject relating to, or inspired by, Hellenic civilization, culture, history, or literature first published in 2022.

The author, William Planes (Platanides), is the first generation of a survivor of the burning of Smyrna on September 13, 1922. He is an Archon Notarios of the Great Church of Christ, the recipient of the Gold Metal of St. Paul, and, with his wife Regina, in 2006, was awarded the Gold Seal of the State of Florida for their philanthropic contributions to their community in Pinellas County Florida.  He is eighty-two years old and is retired, living with his wife in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

The book, Platanides, is a true story based on the life of the author’s father, Panayiotis Platanides, who was born in Philadelphia (Alasehir) Asia Minor (Turkey) in 1908; escaped Genocide at the hands of the soldiers of Mustapha Kamal, Ataturk, in Smyrna on September 13, 1922; becoming refugees in Greece and America; and having lost their country, homes and history, retained their Greek Orthodox Faith in Christ and established a new life in Crete Greece and the United States; and then suffered the occupancy of the Nazi army in Chania, Crete. William Planes, the author, seeks to codify his families’ history in Asia Minor, Crete and America while encouraging the younger generation to make their Faith in Christ the focus point of their lives and to always work at preserving the rights and freedoms we enjoy in the USA.

“Platanides: Through the Storm” by William Planes is available for purchase on various platforms. Visit the author’s website https://williamplanes.com for exclusive offers, or find it on Amazon Kindle here. Additionally, Barnes & Noble offers both online and in-store options for those who prefer physical copies. Explore the diverse avenues to embark on this literary journey.