A special event is to be held in the Senedd on May 12 to honour the contribution of late Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who reported on the genocidal Great Famine in Ukraine, mid-1930s tensions in Europe and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Jones’ exposé on the Holodomor in Ukraine, which was made deadlier by a series of political decrees and decisions, was based on his own eyewitness testimony after travelling in the region. He revealed the scale and horror of the Holodomor to an international audience.
Th Senedd event, organised by the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, is being held to honour the contribution made by Jones to journalism and international affairs. It will also celebrate the conclusion of the digitisation of much of his archive held at the National Library.
Key to completing this digitisation project was generous financial support provided by theUkrainian National Women’s League of America, Temerty Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) and Russ and Karen Chelak.
Jones was a gifted researcher, journalist and author who was murdered by supposed Chinese ‘bandits’ in Inner Mongolia in August 1935, on the eve of his 30th birthday.
Following the murder, former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, for whom Jones previously worked as Jones Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs, told the London Evening Standard: “That part of the world is a cauldron of conflicting intrigue and one or other interests concerned probably knew that Mr Gareth Jones knew too much of what was going on.
“He had a passion for finding out what was happening in foreign lands wherever there was trouble, and in pursuit of his investigations he shrank from no risk… I had always been afraid that he would take one risk too many.
“Nothing escaped his observation, and he allowed no obstacle to turn from his course when he thought that there was some fact, which he could obtain. He had the almost unfailing knack of getting at things that mattered.”
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said: “I am very grateful for the financial support we received to digitise Gareth’s archive as part of the library’s digitisation strategy.
“It is an extremely important archive and can now be shared with historians and researchers across the world. We also owe a great debt to Gareth’s family for depositing the papers with us in the library.”
Lubomyr Luciuk, Professor of Political Geography at the Royal Military College of Canada, added: “Gareth Jones paid with his life for being a truth-teller, one of the first journalists to break the story about the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine, the Holodomor.
“This brave Welshman’s commitment to reporting on the horrors of what was happening, even as the Soviets, their fellow travellers and even Western governments covered up the truth, needs to be remembered and hallowed, particularly at a time when Ukraine is again a victim of war, invasion and the genocidal agenda of Vladimir Putin and his KGB confederates.”
Oksana Lodziuk Krywulych, officer-at-large of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), said: “The UNWLA is honoured to be a sponsor of the digitisation of Gareth Jones’ diaries.
“The UNWLA remains steadfast in its commitment to be a vehicle of awareness and education about the Ukrainian genocide, known as the Holodomor. The Ukrainian nation owes a debt of gratitude to Gareth Jones, a great man who was not afraid to accurately report on the horrors of the Holodomor.
“He deserves to be honoured and remembered for documenting the truth when it was denied by many in the west. His reporting is especially telling today as Ukraine is once again suffering a genocide at the hands of the same perpetrator, while the world watches in real time.”
Sponsored by Mick Antoniw MS, the event will include presentations by Professor Lubomyr Luciuk and journalist Martin Shipton, together with readings of extracts from Jones’ diaries and letters by Julian Lewis Jones.