Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



Stop Press


Complete Soviet Articles & Background Information


Précis of Gareth's Soviet Famine Articles


All Published Articles




Tell Them We Are Starving




Eyewitness to the Holodomor



More Than Grain of Truth



Manchukuo Incident





'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


Gareth Recognised at Cambridge - Nov 2009


Reporter and the Genocide - Rome, March 2009


Order of Freedom Award -Nov 2008


Premiere of 'The Living' Documentary Kyiv - Nov 2008


Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


Aberystwyth Memorial Plaque 2006





Scholarship Fund


Site Map




Legal Notices


Sponsored Links







IF one peeps into the small cottages of the villages in this region one sees girls and women with nimble fingers knitting lace around small buttons. 

In some cottages the men are fast at work rapidly carving pieces of wood into toys.  With a small hand-machine they prepare the rough outline of the forms of soldiers, sheep, pigs, Noah’s Arks, geese, and carts.  On another table there stand pots of paints of the brightest red, the most glaring green, the deepest blue, and another worker, with incredible speed, dabs the colour on to the wooden figures. 

In another village thousands of pieces of glass stand in the corner of the room and the women take many at a time, paint them with spots of colour, and finally string them together so that they tinkle like bells at the slightest touch. 

The Two Spectres 

These are the famous home industries, which are now on their death-bed.  The men and women of these villages who lived by making buttons and toys and glass decorations are the victims of the Europe of 1933-the spectre of Tariffs and the spectre of the Machine. 

Thousands of these friendly, simple mountain people are now suffering hardship because the world has shut its doors upon their toys- and because inventors have found machines which will do in one day what one home worker would take a month to do.  Their hardship is symbolic of that of millions of men in Europe who are unemployed on account of Tariffs and of Machines. 

There is hardly a toy-shop in Wales which has not been stocked with the wooden toys which these people have skillfully made.  There is hardly a Christmas tree in Welsh festivities which has not tinkled with the glass pieces painted and strung together here.  From these lonely fir-covered mountain, valleys the handwork of the villagers has gone out to Great Britain, to America, to Japan, to Holland, to Italy, and to other countries.          

World Bonds 

No better example of how the whole world is bound together by a million links could be given than this region.  When Welsh colliers earned less and could buy fewer toys for their children the effect was immediately felt in this distant valley.  When the British Government placed a tariff upon toys from abroad these villagers received a grave blow.  The rest of the world had long placed barriers in the way of the import of toys. 

Thus tariffs have been the doom of this valley, and the people here are unable to France, for goods from England, for food from the Dominions, but they cannot buy because the door has been slammed it the way of their goods.  There is no demand for the products of their labour and thus their wages have crashed down.  I saw woman who was knitting lace around buttons for dresses in American shops.  Each button tool five minutes to complete, for the knitting was most delicate and skilled. “ What do you get for making those laced buttons?’ I asked. 

Hard-Earned Money 

She replied: “I get one shilling if make a gross”.  For 144 buttons, each of which took five minutes to make, she only got twelve pence.  She continued: “Last week I did well.  I earned two shillings and sixpence.  Of course I have to do my housework as well.”  A girl told me that she usually earned one shilling and six pence per week from this work.  

Throughout Europe there are people like this woman who depended upon home industry for their livelihood.  This is now disappearing and its disappearance brings us face to face with one of the greatest revolutions in the world of today. 

“How are the cobblers doing in this village?”  I asked a woodcutter.  “Terribly,” he replied.  “You see, we used to have our boots made by the cobbler, just as we used to have our cloth made here by the weavers and the clothes made by the nearest tailor.  But now there is nothing left for the poor cobbler to do, nor for the poor tailor, except a few repairs, because the factories and the machines do everything.  The big companies have everywhere knocked out the shoemakers and the local tailors.  The workers all want to buy cheap shoes.  You’ve heard of our huge factory here in Czechoslovakia, Bata, haven’t you?  Well, Bata has knocked out the smaller men.” 

The Village Shoemaker 

My thoughts went immediately to Llanrhaiadr-ym-Mochnant. where I used to spend my holidays as a schoolboy, and. to the village shoemaker, Robert Jones, a great character in the town.  I also thought of the great part played in Welsh life by such shoemakers as Richard Lloyd, the uncle of Mr. Lloyd George, who were outstanding personalities.  Those men gloried in their craft.  In the Europe of 1933 these men are disappearing, and their places are being taken by vast factories and vast companies, which are getting more and more a monopoly over the economic life of the world.

In this revolution-the concentrating of industry away from the home into huge concerns-the machine has played a great part.  Even in this small Czechoslovakian valley this is obvious.  Japan, for example, used to buy many of the toys of Germany and of this district.  Then the Japanese put up a tariff against foreign toys and set up factories with the latest machines, against which the simple villagers could not compete.  Japan then imported toys into Germany and undercut the German toys in many lines.  But the competition and the poverty caused by the tariffs led to such a fall in prices that both the Japanese and the German manufacturers suffered, and no one was better off. 

Effect on the Child Mind 

The machine has also affected the minds of children and has made them despise . wooden toys.  The boys and girls of today demand locomotives, aeroplanes, and Zeppelins which are made of steel and tin.  The toymakers who carve from wood bewail this.  They say, “Children are spoilt by the machine-it has knocked out the home industry of making wooden toys. 

Hit by tariffs and by the machine, the workers in North Czechoslovakia are, therefore, suffering.  They receive no unemployment pay in cash, but in many parts the unemployed are given a bread card worth is 1s.3d. per week.  The rest they must beg or borrow or earn by odd jobs.  Even those who have work have very low wages. 

In the Czech coal mines the wages have fallen to about twelve to fifteen shillings a week.  The decision to lower wages led last autumn to the outbreak of a strike.  Police- and soldiers were called, and in fights many were killed.  The strike failed because the companies threatened to dismiss all the strikers-and bring in new workers.  Many Communists took part in the strike, but a large number of the strikers were pious Catholics.  It was significant that the troops showed great sympathy with the strikers.

Back to Germany 

It is now time to leave the new State of Czechoslovakia and return to Germany, to cross from one troubled country to another.  As I wave good-bye to the villagers the local timber merchant comes up to me, and his words are a striking close to my visit: “I have just heard that the Germans are going to raise their tariff still higher against Czech timber.  It comes into force this month.  It will mean my ruin.

The Europe of 1933 is tariff mad.








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


Top of Page




Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices.  For all further details email:  Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44)  0796 303  8888