Gareth Jones (1905-1934), the young Welsh investigative journalist, is revered in Ukraine as a national hero and is now rightly recognised as the first reporter to reveal the horror of the Holodomor, the Soviet Government-induced famine of the early 1930s, which killed millions of Ukrainians.
Gareth Jones - Eyewitness to the Holodomor is a meticulous study of the efforts made by the the Aberystwyth and Cambridge-educated journalist, a fluent Russian-speaker, to investigate the Soviet Government’s denials, that its Five Year Plan had led to mass starvation, by visiting Ukraine in 1933 and reporting what he saw and witnessed: ‘I walked along through villages and twelve collective farms. Everywhere was the cry, “There is no bread. We are dying”’.
Determined to alert the world to the suffering in Ukraine and to expose Stalin’s policies and prejudices towards the Ukrainian people, Jones published numerous articles in the UK (The Times, Daily Express and Western Mail) and the USA (New York Evening News and Chicago Daily News) with headlines such as ‘Famine Grips Russia. Millions Dying’, but soon saw his credibility and integrity attacked and denigrated by Soviet sympathizers, most famously by Moscow-based Walter Duranty of the New York Times.
Gareth Jones was killed by bandits the following year, on the eve of his 30th birthday, whilst travelling in Japanese-controlled China. There remain strong suspicions that Jones’ murder was arranged by the Soviets in revenge for his eyewitness reporting which brought global attention to the Holodomor.
Ray Gamache was Assistant Professor of Journalism in the Dept of Mass Communications at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is now retired and lives in South Portland, Maine.