relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York,
Speech Delivered by Nigel Colley
for the Holodomor Panykhida
on Saturday 19th November 2005
Gareth Jones - Final Victim of the 1933
To the list of the millions of Ukrainian peasants who lost their lives due to
Stalin's man-made famine, the name of the only Welshman, my great uncle, Gareth
Jones should perhaps now be added…
Newly discovered evidence at the British Public Records Office points the finger
of blame for Gareth's murder in 1935 in the direction of Moscow, quite probably
in retribution for his international exposure of the Holodomor… and whose only
crime was his dogged pursuit of truth…
Some of you will know that Gareth made an off-limits Ukrainian trek in the snows
of early March 1933, stopping off in villages along the way to talk with
peasants of their tales of woe and despair.
Immediately on leaving the Soviet Union in late March 1933, he issued a press
statement in Berlin publicising that the USSR was in the grips of a famine far
worse than in 1921. Credence was given to his version of events, by virtue of
his position as Foreign Affairs Advisor to the former British, World War One
Prime Minister, Lloyd George …
Nevertheless, he was branded a liar by the Soviet sycophantic press and snubbed
by the British Establishment…
However, two years later in January 1935, American press baron, Randolph Hearst
personally afforded a carte blanche opportunity for Gareth to repeat his tales
of Ukraine during the height of the famine in the Hearst papers. These hitherto
and virtually forgotten articles, almost airbrushed out of existence, probably
represent one of the most vitriolic attacks on the Stalinist Regime of the time,
a series in which he quite possibly first coins the phrase 'man-made famine' in
his description of Stalin's atrocities.
Briefly, as time does not permit, the following paragraphs contain a flavour of
these articles in which he wrote:
I was determined to fill a rucksack with food, walk in the villages and see for
myself how the peasants were really living.
But it was a difficult task. Journalists were not even allowed to go to the
The only thing to do was to take a ticket to a big city and drop out of the
train in a small station without any one noticing me. I thus bought a ticket to
Kharkov in the Ukraine and before long I found myself in a dark-smelling, wooden
train bound for the south.
When the train stopped in a small station, I said to myself , "Here is my chance
to slip off and enter Russia's no man's land."
The first words I heard were ominous, for an old peasant woman moving with
difficulty along the track answered my greeting with that phrase, "Hleba nietu"
("there is no bread").
The next village I came upon had an unearthly quietness about it and it was long
before I came upon any living being.
From a peasant I heard the same wail: "There is no bread." And he added another
phrase which I was destined to hear frequently, and that was: "Vse pukhly," or
"all are swollen."
"Come and stay with us." They took me to a hut, and there I noticed crawling on
a bed a child with a stomach which was swollen.
The eyes of the child were strange, for there seemed to be a glassy film-like
substance in them.
I asked the woman what was the matter, and she replied with one word: "golod,"
which means "FAMINE."
Yes, famine was raging in that village as it was throughout that district.
I turned to the old farmers and said: "Why has this scourge come upon you?"
One of them stroked his beard and scratched his head and replied: "It is because
the Communists have cursed God. They have tried to banish God from our midst,
and the punishment has come in the form of death. When Holy Mother Russia
believed in God, the fields became a mass of gold and the cattle and horses
"But now the revenge has come for all the blasphemy and the evil which has been
But I was buoyed up by the desire to solve a problem - why was there a famine in
one of the richest wheat growing countries in the world? And to each peasant I
asked; "Potchemu golod? - Why is there a famine?
The peasants replied: "It is not the fault of nature. It is the fault of the
"The Communists have turned us into slaves and we shall not be happy until we
have our own land, our own cows and our own wheat again."
Within an hour, I made my way further towards the south. In each home in which
the peasants entertained me with that warm-heartedness for which the Russians
are renowned, they would pray me to forgive them that they had no food to offer,
and I would look upon the children with their distorted limbs and feel the
tragedy of that man-made famine which had the country in its grip.
"Do not pity us," some of the peasants would say, "but pity those who live down
around Poltava and more to the south. There, whole villages are empty, for all
have died, and in many communities half have perished."
For Gareth to have embarrassed the Soviets by exposing the Holodomor once, at
the height of the famine in 1933, he may have expected to face their wrath and
to be called a liar, but twice, in this series of vitriolic articles in the
Hearst press, and calling it a 'man-made famine' - Sealed his fate.
Even in 1934, in a letter to a friend before setting off on his final journey
from Great Britain, he jokingly wrote:
"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
Foreign Commissar Litvinoff 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."
But did 'little Joneski' realise how marked a man he was?
In July 1935, Gareth during his fact-finding tour of the Far East had been
invited by a German Journalist Dr Herbert Mueller to take an adventurous trip
into the wilds of Inner Mongolia to see what the Japanese army were up to… Their
transport was generously afforded by a company called Wostwag…
Gareth wrote to his parents, "There will be a car at our disposal… Absolutely
safe country, no bandits." Unfortunately, this was not to be the case… He and
his travelling companion Mueller, were kidnapped - Mueller was released unharmed
after just two days in captivity, but Gareth was found shot two weeks later on
the eve of his 30th birthday.
Though I have known for over a year that the vehicle from which Gareth was
kidnapped by Chinese bandits, belonged to a trading front of the Soviet NKVD and
whose local manager Adam Purpiss, was considered by the US intelligence to be,
"one of the shrewdest and cleverest men in the Far East…" but more importantly he
was at one time associated with the Cheka, the Soviet Secret Police."
What I discovered by chance only last week at the British Public Records Office
in London was that his travelling companion, Dr Herbert Mueller, was a
known-Communist, had stayed at a Soviet consulate in China under the alias of
'Gordon', but most tellingly was a representative in China of the Third
International, also known as the Comintern - a Soviet organization whose purpose
was to fight, "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow
of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet
Indeed the British had an active secret dossier on Mueller for 34 years…
It is my belief, that though I don't yet have definitive proof, that these two
Soviet secret agents were directly behind Gareth's murder, it now looks more
than likely… and Gareth's only crime was his thirst for knowledge and his
pursuit of truth…
Finally, this year marks the 100th anniversary of my great uncle's birth.
Let us please celebrate the courage and honesty of an undoubted hero from Wales,
who may well have been the last victim of the Holodomor….
Above Hearst Newspaper Sources - New York American / Los Angeles Examiner
Saturday 12 January 1935. "Russia's Starvation"
Sunday 13 January 1935. "There is No Bread"
Monday 14 January 1935. "Reds Let Peasants Starve"
Sources for Soviet NKVD Background on Wostwag and Herbert Muller from
here for Nigel Colley's speech at St Patrick's in November 2004 entitled.
"The Truth Matters"