Nick Stamon, Founder, International Museum of Human Rights at San Diego
Nick Stamon (1923 – 2011) was born in San Diego, CA, of Greek immigrant parents. After graduating from high school in 1941, Nick enlisted in the U.S. Army and was trained for missions inside occupied Greece. After World War II, Nick attended UC-Berkeley and completed his undergraduate education at San Diego State University.
Nick joined his violin teacher to become proprietors of a downtown San Diego store, “Fiddle & Bow,” where Nick taught violin and viola. He played in musical shows and with festival and local orchestras, including the Sherwood Hall Orchestra in La Jolla. He often gave scholarships and discounts for lessons to students with limited funds. He formed the Nick Stamon Press to publish and sell his arrangements. For several years, he served as San Diego Magazine’s music critic.
After discovering that the London-based human rights organization, Amnesty International, had chapters in the United States, Nick founded the first San Diego chapter of AI in 1969; he served as Regional Coordinator. At the Western Regional Conference in 2011, Nick posthumously received AI’s Legacy Award. On the 50th anniversary (1998) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nick was honored by the United Nations Association of San Diego with its Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award. Nick was Mr. Human Rights!
Dating back to the late 1990s, Nick had begun to think about the need for another human rights organization in San Diego, one that could be small enough to plan and act quickly and could co-operate with other like-minded groups. He established, with a group of dedicated friends, the International Museum of Human Rights at San Diego or iMoHR. Nick liked the British phrase, “without the walls” (outside the walls), and joked that his museum would be truly “without the walls,” no walls at all.
Nick married the former Peggy Moore Burckhardt in 1968; they adopted two daughters and have four grandchildren. She continues to run the Nick Stamon Press.