DimiWe are sad to announce that John D. Panitza, former Managing Editor of

Reader’s Digest and a long-time member of AAPA, died in Paris on July 28 at the

age of 80 after a long struggle with cancer.


“Dimi,” as he was known to all, worked for the Digest for 42 years, most of them

as head of its European Editorial Office in Paris, which produced articles for the

magazine’s numerous editions around the world. He also helped create several

Digest-sponsored books, including The Bridge at Spandau (about the Hungarian

revolution in 1956), The Longest Day (about D-Day), Is Paris Burning? (about

the liberation of Paris), and The Last Battle (about the fall of Berlin in 1945).


Born in Sofia, he left Bulgaria at 18 but remained passionately devoted to his

native land. In 1991 he and his wife, Yvonne, also a Digest editor, established

the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation, devoted to fostering the post-

communist democratization of the country. For the next 18 years the foundation

played a major role in Bulgarian civil society, sponsoring the successful programs

for street children, drug use prevention and treatment, university scholarships for

Bulgarian students and the Pantiza Excellence in Journalism Prize.


Dimi was also a founder and board member of the American University in

Bulgaria, the first American institution of higher education established in a former

Iron Curtain country. He helped create its library, which now bears his name.


The funeral was held on August 2 at 2:30 pm at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on

the rue Daru.