Aris Anagnos was born in Athens, Greece in 1923. During the WWII nazi occupation of Greece he escaped to the Middle East and joined the Free Greek exile Army, which fought in the North African desert campaigns alongside the Allies against the German and Italian troops. After the war he served with UNRRA , the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in the rehabilitation of war devastated Greece.
Anagnos came to the United States in 1946 and attended UCLA, obtaining a B.S. degree in Business Administration which he used to build a successful career in insurance and real estate. From the start, after becoming a citizen, Anagnos was active politically, opposing the war in Korea, the war against Vietnam and all the various wars the US Administrations waged or sponsored against miscellaneous peoples around the world. He supported the Cuban People in their 1959 Revolution and opposed the Bay of Pigs invasion and the other hostile policies against Cuba. Anagnos also opposed the various dictatorships sponsored by the U.S. in Latin America and elsewhere, including the CIA imposed dictatorship in Greece in1967.
Throughout his life, Anagnos has supported various Peace and Human Rights causes nationally and internationally. He served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California for 28 years, including two years as President. He also served several years as President of the Southern California Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and the Humanitarian Law Project. Anagnos is one of the founders of the American Hellenic Council of California, on whose Board he has served for over forty years, including five years as President.
Anagnos was very active in opposing the Contra War in Nicaragua and the Dictatorships in El Salvador and Guatemala. On July 19, 2013, Nicaragua's National Holiday, President Daniel Ortega awarded Anagnos the Ruben Darrio Medal, the highest decoration of the Republic of Nicaragua. Anagnos also holds the Enrique Schmidt Medal, the highest Nicaraguan decoration awarded to non-Nicaraguans. He also received the Frente Farabundo Marti Medal from the FMLN in El Salvador, the progressive coalition which fought the dictatorship for twelve years and is now the democratic government in El Salvador.