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



Gareth Jones' Murder and the Strong Circumstantial Evidence of the Involvement of the Soviet Secret Police (OGPU / NKVD)

Gareth Jones put his head above the parapet to expose the 1932-33 Soviet Ukrainian Famine, and knew that his articles had caused offence. when he wrote to a friend: 

“Alas! You will be very amused to hear that the inoffensive little 'Joneski' has achieved the dignity of being a marked man on the black list of the O.G.P.U. and is barred from entering the Soviet Union.  I hear that there is a long list of crimes which I have committed under my name in the secret police file in Moscow and funnily enough espionage is said to be among them… As a matter of fact Litvinoff  [Soviet Foreign Minister] sent a special cable from Moscow to the Soviet Embassy in London to tell them to make the strongest of complaints to Mr. Lloyd George about me.”

Gareth had interviewed Maxim Litvinov in Moscow, who had great respect for Gareth's employer Lloyd George, just a few days before Gareth's Berlin Famine Exposing Press Interview of 29th March 1933 (click HERE or transcript).)

In 1935, Gareth had two 'courtesies' afforded him by Soviet secret agents in two different countries. To cross the path of the NKVD once in one's last few months might be deemed an unfortunate occurrence, however, to unknowingly meet them twice, probably confirmed his imminent death certificate:

  1. Whilst in Tokyo in February 1935, Gareth was the house guest of Gunther (Günther) Stein, a newspaper correspondent for the London News Chronicle (a newspaper with a now known history of having a some NKVD journalist spies amongst its employees, one of whom David Crook was involved with the kidnapping of POUM Trotskyist leaders in the Spanish Civil War in reference to George Orwell's experiences - click here for more details) . Gareth would have met first him in Moscow in March 1933 as he was then the Berliner Tageblatt Moscow Correspondent.  Gunther Stein shortly after Gareth's visit, allowed his Tokyo 'Bunka' apartments to be used by arguably the greatest Soviet spy of the 20th century, Richard Sorge, for secret radio communication with Moscow in early 1936. According to F.W. Deakin and G. R. Storry (1966) in 'The Case of Richard Sorge', Sorge requested that his Moscow paymasters accredit Stein as a member of his spy ring, but was refused, which Deaken and Storry attributed to Stein being on other unknown work for the Soviet Secret Police. Stein, German by birth, had become a naturalised-British citizen,  arrived in Tokyo very  shortly before Gareth's arrival in early 1935 -  Stein left Japan in 1938 and thereby avoided arrest in October 1941, along with Richard Sorge, who under interrogation, named him as being an accomplice. Later in 1943, Stein was working as an Associated Press correspondent (AP) in China covering the Communist leadership: along with Agnes Smedley of the Manchester Guardian (another alleged and now believed to have been a Soviet spy as well as one-time girlfriend of Sorge) .

  2. Gareth's last journey into Inner Mongolia, China was provided courtesy of  Mr Purpis(s) of the German Wostwag company, which according to former CIA-Soviet intelligence experts William Corson and Robert Crowley in their1985  book 'The New KGB",  was a trading front for the NKVD  and a Mr Purpis(s) of Wostwag then turned up in New York in 1940 five years later, being cited as the 'third associate' in a Soviet Spy ring.

Gareth's travelling companion and fellow journalist into Inner Mongolia, was a Chinese naturalised-German, called Dr Herbert Mueller, who wrote in his first German newspaper report through the DNB (Deutsches Nachrichtenburo - the official Nazi press agency) after his own release from kidnapping:

Chapter: Dr. Mueller’s Story – page 187 – "Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident" by Dr Margaret Siriol Colley

"I am an experienced traveller and have known Inner Mongolia since 1913 and I have gone over thousands of miles there.  I know the risks and hardships of travelling in those parts and, when approached by Mr Gareth Jones for advice as to a visit to Inner Mongolia, I recommended a more comfortable trip based on the Suiyan Railway although he was himself making preparations for an extended journey into Eastern Chahar.  But advice from a third party prevailed and I consented, very reluctantly, to accept the company of Mr Gareth Jones, telling him quite openly that it was the first time I had taken another foreigner on such a trip and that by doing so I was acting against my principles."

[N.B. Mueller was in 1946, tried and convicted (and in this author's opinion probably wrongfully) after the Second World War for 'News Intelligence' in the Japanese War Crimes' Trials - UPDATE MAR 2006 - MI6 HAD A SECRET DOSSIER OPEN ON MUELLER FROM 1917-52 MONITORING HIS COVERT WORK FOR THE SOVIETS - Click here for more details ] :

Who this third party was, is still a mystery?

We can only presume it was probably either Gunther Stein, Mr Adam Purpis (see below) or possibly even Richard Sorge, but nonetheless, Dr. Mueller didn't publicly reveal this 'third party's' name, for reasons we just don't know, but can only think they were to protect himself and/or his Chinese family.

In any event, it is clear that Gareth was eventually pointed in the direction of a Mr Purpis.

However, as for a specific link between Mr Purpis in Siriol Colley’s 'Manchukuo Incident' book and the Soviet Secret Police, please read the following extracts of her book and then cross-reference her Mr. Purpis with the Mr Purpiss mentioned in 'The New KGB':

Chapter: Dr. Mueller’s Story – page 179 – "Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident"

"The following is Müller’s own despatched report to the Official German News Agency in its entirety:

“I left Peking on July 11th with Baron von Plessen of the Germany Embassy and Mr Gareth Jones in order to profit from an invitation of Prince Teh of the West Sunnit in connection with the Sunnit-Mongol Congress. From Prince Teh’s residence I started on a longer journey for the northeast part of Inner Mongolia, Herr Purpis, director of the Wostwag in Kalgan, having most kindly placed a motorcar at my disposal. Mr Jones travelled with me, also my boy Liang, and the Russian chauffeur, Anatoli Petrewschtschew. At midday on July 25th we were approaching Dolonor, our next objective. We were still about 100 Li (approximately 35 miles) from the place when we came across an ox-cart carrying, to my surprise, the flags of Manchukuo and Japan”

Chapter: The Final Journey – page 2 – "Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident"

"At 3.30 in the afternoon (after 8 ½ hours), we came to a huge collection of mud houses, with some stone in the middle surrounded by hills. It was Kalgan, the outpost for trade between the Mongols and China. There, two magnificent cars were waiting for us. We were to be the guests of Mr Purpis, a Latvian, the “King of Kalgan” who is the chief trader in Inner Mongolia and sells about 30,000 horses each year to the Chinese Army. Our chauffeur was the former chauffeur of the Panchen Lama, who with the Dalai Lama is the chief lama of Tibet and Mongolia. He drove us through the dirty town to a kind of mud-wall fortress on the outskirts of the town. It was Wostwag, the company for trading with the Mongols, a German firm. We entered a courtyard, which was full of hides, tobacco, boxes of silks, wool. There were many lorries, which go from Kalgan across part of the Gobi Desert to Urga in (Soviet) Outer Mongolia. Mr Purpis, a very lively man, very strong and vigorous, in breeches and leather boots, came to welcome us. He gave us a wonderful dinner that night. We had a warning to beware of Mongol dogs that are said to leap at men’s throats if the men are afraid. (But I do not have the slightest trouble with Mongol dogs. Either they take a liking to me or they are terrified of me and slink away. They can tell at once that I have no fear of dogs.)

The Final Journey – page 6 – "Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident"

"About four o’clock, we saw a great sight - over 1000 horses on the plain. They all stick together side by side affectionately. This is against the wolves that will kill them. In Outer Mongolia, they reckon five percent die from the wolves that even kill big horses. A few dark blue tents had been pitched. It was Mr Purpis’ horse camp where he had 1250 horses. There we were to camp for the night.

It was like the Wild West! A number of Mongol horsemen were there and a great performance began. Mr Purpis was to choose some of the best horses to bring to Kalgan. Mr Larsen and he directed the Mongol horsemen to choose one out of the wild horses. The Mongol armed with a long whip, which was also a lasso, would descend on the chosen horse that would then fly away. A great race would follow, the Mongol catching the fugitive horse, throwing the whip-lasso round his neck and bringing him to a stop. Five or six Mongols on foot - very plucky - on this horse being brought back –would leap on the horse or hold him by the mane and tail. Then another Mongol would brand the wild horse with “P” for Purpis. Then supper - soup with big lumps of mutton - cooked by the Russians. We ate it in wooden Mongol bowls. We then slept in tents."

Now cross – reference with (1985)  ‘THE NEW KGB’ - footnote (No. 4) by  William Corson and Robert Crowley (page 434):

“As late as 1940, Useher Zloczower, posing as an Austrian, had a “business” address in care of the Pacific Merchandise Company, 132 West 34th Street, New York City. His long-time GRU associate, Rubin G (true name: Rubin Gidoni, also posing as an Austrian), was arrested by the British while acting as the London manager of the Far East Fur Trading Company. Glucksmann’s books included a letter signed Frank Kieges, an identity previously bought from a New Jersey undertaker for $40. Kieges firm, Société Anonme Française pour l’Importation de Legumes Secs, was located in Paris and provided the GRU with cover in France. A third associate, Adam Purpiss, a friend of Glucksmann and Kieges, was also in New York as the head of the Oriental Trading and Engineering Corporation. Purpiss had come to New York after serving as the manager of Wostwag in Shanghai.

Keeping one’s cover straight wasn’t always easy. Glucksmann told the British that a man named Ernst Czucka (whose name was found in his files) was a former friend who worked in Wostwag in Berlin and, later, worked with Glucksmann and Zloczower in Paris. Unknown to Glucksmann, the British had already arrested Czucka for taking photographs in an area prohibited to aliens. At the time of his arrest, Czucka claimed to be a Dutchman representing another cover firm, the ADA Press Service or Anglo-French-American Press Agency of Amsterdam.

While detailing his contacts to the British, Glucksmann also identified Philip Rosenbliett, a New York dentist who, by then, had already been recalled to Moscow and executed.”   

Further information from 'The New KGB' about Wostwag's link with the Soviet Secret Police can be found on page 279:

"Soviet intelligence has had a long and profitable experience in the world of commerce. It started in Berlin in 1921, when the Fourth Department of the Red Army sent the brothers Aaron and Abraham Ehrenlieb to Berlin, with GRU money, to organize the Eastern Trading Company, or Wostwag (West-Osteuropaeische Warenaustausch Aktiengesellschaft) at #19, Schiffbauerdamm, Berlin NW 6. The Ehrenlieb brothers were Poles who had become Soviet citizens. Both were GRU staff officers. 

Wostwag was supposed to handle the sale of Soviet products in Germany, but in 1921, not only were there few if any Soviet products to sell, there was very little money in Germany to be spent on imports of any kind. Yet, if you pretend that you are in business, it is necessary to look and act as if you know one end of a cash register from the other. To give the firm a few props and a small inventory, the Soviet trade mission in Berlin transferred its meager accounts to Wostwag

By arrangement with Moscow the firm's income was to be used in the development of espionage nets. In 1925, the brothers were recalled to Moscow and replaced by another GRU officer named Uscher Zloczower. In 1926, Abraham Ehrenlieb was dispatched to the Far East, where he set up a new company at 49 Taku Road, Tientsin, called the Far Eastern Fur Trading Company.4 His brother Aaron was sent to Urga, Mongolia, to open a branch of Wostwag. In 1935 Aaron was ordered to New York to open the American branch of Wostwag, but he was unable to secure a visa to enter the United States."

Therefore it is my opinion, that it is more than a coincidence that Mr Purpis, the 'King of Kalgan', who laid on Gareth's last transport before being murdered, and free of charge to boot and in the middle of 'nowhere', then ends up five years later in New York as an NKVD agent.

To quote Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca: '...of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world she walks into mine..." - therefore if it wasn't a coincidence that Gareth walked into Purpis' 'gin-joint', then Gareth must have been specifically directed by somebody, but whom?

It was well-known, even before January 1935 in California, when Gareth wrote his second series of Soviet famine articles for Randolph Hearst in January 1935, that Gareth was going out to see the Soviet-Manchukuo border in Inner Mongolia.

Is it a coincidence that Gareth met a 'friendly' face of Stein, who had arrived just before him in Tokyo, and was without doubt a Soviet agent? Stein would have known of Gareth's plans, first-hand. Did Stein influence Dr Mueller (with whom Gareth already had a letter of introduction from his German friend and one-time Frankfurter Zeitung editor, Von Dewall), possibly through Sorge who had previous spy contacts in China and more importantly had influence with the DNB (the Nazi Press Agency) for whom Mueller worked?

What of  Mueller's acquaintance with a bandit leader (and was this leader amongst the same bandits who captured them and from whom Mueller was later allowed to escape), and did this lead Gareth into a false sense of security? From page 31 of Manchukuo Incident:

"We are going through bandit country to Dolonor. I am told they are very pleasant bandits and do not attack foreigners. Dr Müller knows the bandit leader quite well and we may call to see him. I don’t think there is any danger, because 35 bandits were seen on the road yesterday and they were driven off into the mountains."

Although all of the above evidence points towards a Soviet connection with Gareth's murder, one should not forget the possible Japanese involvement - according to Mueller's first account of the kidnapping, there were two Japanese observers amongst the first set of bandits...

For example, based on evidence available in 2001, Siriol Colley wrote in her conclusions of the Manchukuo Incident:

"To Japan, a proud and aggrieved country imbued with a desire for colonial expansion, it was a thinly veiled ‘incident’ like so many more that had been contrived by them in order to implicate the Chinese in a zone which they wished to acquire by stealth.  Through the auspices of Major General Doihara, Japan was pressing to make North China independent of Nanking and the local governments to become autonomous.  Doihara was known to have engineered other incidents in China and was present in the area at about the time Gareth and Müller were captured.  Is there a possibility that he also was implicated?  Though Japanese troops were massing in Dolonor and on the road to Kalgan, there was no reported invasion in August 1935 by the Kwantung army in the area.  The innkeeper in the town of Dolonor had informed Gareth that the Japanese intended to occupy Kalgan by about 15th August.  The unanswered question is whether Gareth’s incident, which had worldwide press coverage, curtailed a planned offensive in the next Japanese ‘drive for Asia’.  Historically though, it is a fact that by 6th December 1935, the Japanese had merely occupied the border areas of Eastern Chahar."

Later in the same chapter, she wrote (page 242):

"On July 30th 1935, The Western Mail printed an article by Gareth entitled “Anglo-American Relations from the Japanese Point of View” which highlighted the conflicting opinions of Western politicians concerning Japanese intentions in the Far East.  He wrote: “Which is the right point of view?  I shall not be able to make up my mind until I have been through the Far East, visited China and Manchukuo and returned for a second visit to Japan.”  Had Gareth survived his kidnapping ordeal he would have undoubtedly written a sensational book revealing Japan’s designs of territorial expansion.  This startling exposé would also have emphasised Japan’s plans of infiltrating North China for defensive reasons because of the fear of an invasion by Communist troops massing in the north, on the Soviet Union’s border with Manchukuo.  The worldwide publicity given to Gareth’s controversial articles on his return from Russia in 1933 would have perturbed the well-informed Japanese Intelligence Service.  In the summer of 1934 Gareth correctly predicted the conflict in Europe against Germany.  In Java he anticipated that while Britain was occupied by this war, Japan would exploit the situation and strike to expand her Empire.  This prediction was confirmed when on December 7th 1941, the American fleet was bombed in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii and simultaneously Japan invaded and occupied in rapid succession many of those countries that were “coloured as colonies of Nippon” on Ishihara Koichero’s map; the map that Gareth was shown in the Dutch East Indies. "

However, Gareth's niece's Manchukuo book was written before she knew of the full extent of Gareth's role in exposing the 1932-33 Soviet famine and its probable implications in having embarrassed Stalin's regime on two separate occasions (1933 and 1935).

So until Gareth's undoubted KGB records are released, one cannot dismiss the Japanese fears of Gareth exposing their covert expansion of Manchuria.

Nevertheless, there is more than enough circumstantial evidence to implicate the NKVD's role in Gareth's unfortunate demise. 

In conclusion and as another damning unconnected aside, a modus operandi (according to Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky from his Harper-Collins 1990 book written with Christopher Andrew entitled 'KGB - The Inside Story' (P162) ) of the Soviets at the time, was to send anonymous letters to put  investigators 'off the scent' of their murderous actions: 

 "The NKVD attempted to lay a false trail by sending an anonymous letter to the Swiss police identifying the body as that of an international arms smuggler. The plan failed."

Thus, was this letter abut Gareth below simply just a 'crank' note to Lloyd George (whose office was primarily in pursuit of Gareth's murderers in 1935) or perhaps from more sinister forces implicating a possible 'patsy', namely Dr Mueller (in any event, why were the quotation marks put in afterwards by hand - by someone more educated, and if so were there then two people involved in the letter?) - I'll  let you decide upon the letter's relevance; the jury is currently out...

NKVD Anonymous letter to divert blame?


The British Public Records Office has recently released records about its investigation into Wostwag between 1938 -51 - Further details: CLICK HERE FOR PRO REFERENCE 

The following was as published online by the PRO under their recent releases in May 2004, but now their online description of the file has been aromatically abridged and is unfortunately less detailed then the below transcription:

Far Eastern Fur Trading Company (KV 2/1655)

This file provides a good case study of the work of the Security Service in dealing with commercial front organisations and the contact it brought with other government departments.

The Far Eastern Fur Trading Company was established [in 1922] by the Russian military intelligence service to provide cover employment for Soviet agents, as part of a network related to the Wostwag organisation based in Berlin. It was identified as being a front organisation by Walter Krivitsky, and from information provided by him, the American authorities asked the Security Service to investigate this firm, which was based in Upper Thames Street in the City of London and carried on legitimate front operations importing and retailing furs. Covertly it acted to channel funds to Soviet supported organisations and individuals.

This file (covering 1938-1951) details the steps taken after the initial US inquiry. It includes copies with photographs of the aliens' registration forms for the key players, including the director of the firm in 1938, Rubin Gluckmann. Gluckmann and the company secretary, Kate Rinks, were kept under surveillance and their correspondence was watched, before both were arrested and interned and the Company offices raided in 1940. The file includes statements and interrogation reports and police records of the arrests. After the war, the file chiefly concerns disposal of the company's assets and correspondence with the Trading With the Enemy Department (later Administration of Enemy Property Department).

In August 2004, I visited the PRO at Kew Gardens, London, and digitally photographed the salient details of this file regarding Adam Purpis - CLICK HERE for details.  so as to see photos of secret documents relating to Purpis' false Honduran passport , his CV,  financial transactions, and finally a letter from Roger Hollis to Kim Philby. [NB there are a lot of legible photos on this page so download may be slow - 2 to 3 mins on a 56kb dial-up modem]



Further to case file (KV2 /1655) released in 2004, the British Public Records Office have released a new file on 7th February  2005 (KV2 / 1902 - see below for details) , which shows that the British Secret Services commenced their surveillance of Wostwag back in 1925,  and was still on-going when Gareth was murdered in 1935.  However, there is no reference to their Wostwag investigation in their 500-page investigation into Gareth's murder, apart from the one-passing reference where Kitson of the FO wrote: “According to ‘Oriental Affairs’ for Sept [1935] ‘Wostwag’ is believed to have good Soviet connections otherwise they would not be able to get the necessary trading permits for Mongolia, which no other foreign firm can get.” .


Why wasn't the  link made at the time to this file , and how much more is going top come out of the woodwork? And why exactly was this file held back for an extra year compared to the one they released in 2004 (KV2 /1655), when both files were closed in 1951?


Details:: KV 2/1902

Covering dates 1925 Jan 01 - 1951 Dec 31

Scope and content: Oriental Trading and Engineering Company (Far East), alias WOSTWAG, The Oriental Trading and Engineering Corp (New York). Identified by General Walter KRIVITSKY as a trading organisation set up by the Soviet military staff during the 1920s to provide commercial cover for many military intelligence officers

Access conditions: Retained Until 2005
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
Held by The National Archives, Kew

See the following PRO  link:,WOSTWAG&FullDetails=True


Having read this file in November 2005, I would state that there is not much new information in KV2 /1902 save this most interesting appraisal of Purpis by the US Foreign Service of American Embassy in London to MI6 – 13  by JA Cimperman  on 13 January 1949.- transcript below:


CLICK HERE for high resolution copy of this above image



 It is stated that Chase has not been informed of the full list of directors but understood that Mr’ CLARKE is a Director as is Mr JOHN E. KLIEBEL of New York. It is stated that Mr PURPISS told the Shanghai Branch of Chase that he was formerly General Manager of the predecessor company for several years; and previous to that, had been in business on his own account. He is a Latvian by birth but travels under a Honduran passport. It is stated that he is considered one of the shrewdest and cleverest men in the Far East  and in the past has made his headquarters in Kalgan. The memo continues to state, “it is reported further that  he was one time associated with Cheka, Soviet Russia’s extraordinary secret service organization, and also that he was forced to leave Kalgan owing to threats against his life. It has also been rumored that Mr PURPISS is associated with the Third International and reportedly he was previously in Hamburg, Germany, and had experience in hog casings and furs. Of recent years, it seems he has been the domineering factor in the Far Eastern business of “WOSTWAG”.






 Recently discovered documents at the Public Records Office show that Dr Herbert Mueller, who was kidnapped with Gareth from a vehicle belonging to the NKVD, was a known communist and the Chinese representative of the Soviet Third International. Indeed the British MI5 had a operational file open on him from 1917 to 1951 - but unfortunately never passed on their suspicions to the Foreign Office in their 500-page investigation into Gareth's murder. For a work in progress page of my initial findings please CLICK HERE





For a draft copy of my transcription of the PRO Wostwag case file in relation to Purpiss CLICK HERE


Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-09. 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 -796 303 8888


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