This week saw showings in Cardiff and Aberystwyth of a remarkable documentary film telling the story of the famine which devastated Ukraine in 1932-33. Central to this Ukrainian film ‘The Living’ were the story and letters of Gareth Jones, a journalist born in Barry, south Wales, who travelled widely in the Soviet Union and reported what he found in Ukraine.
Jones had been Secretary to Lloyd George, which gave added weight to his dispatches, but he became the target for pro-Stalin propagandists, including the Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty. An extensive website about Jones has been created by his niece Margaret Siriol Colley and his great nephew, Nigel Linsan Colley.
The film ‘The Living’, directed by Sergiy Bukovsky, contains moving testimony from survivors of the famine, now in their 80s.
Gareth Jones died in mysterious circumstances in Inner Mongolia in 1935 on the eve of his 30th birthday. A plaque commemorating his life was unveiled at University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2006.
You can read one of his reports here.