Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



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Tell Them We Are Starving




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 Tell Them We Are Starving

The 1933 Soviet Diaries of Gareth Jones

ISBN: 978-1-896354  (275 pages)



KINGSTON, ONTARIO, 22 May 2015/ Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, editor of The Holodomor Occasional Papers Series, is pleased to announce publication of "Tell Them We Are Starving: The 1933 Soviet Diaries of Gareth Jones," #2 in the series.

The new book provides high quality facsimiles of the 3 pocket notebooks as well as a transcription of the contents that Welsh journalist Gareth Jones collected during a 3-week stay in the USSR during March 1933, when famine was devastating areas of the USSR, particularly Ukraine, the Kuban region of North Caucasus and the Lower Volga.

According to Dr Ray Gamache, a media historian and co-transcriber (along with Nigel Linsan Colley, great nephew of Gareth Jones), the diaries constitute one of the most important independent, verifiable records of a horrific event, now known as the Holodomor, recorded even as it was unfolding in Ukraine. As a result of that journey Jones is now recognized as the journalist most responsible for exposing the Great Famine that caused the deaths of more than four and a half million Ukrainians.

In his introduction to the book, Dr Gamache notes that transcribing the notebooks was anything but easy, thanks to Jones’ tendency to quote source material from Ukraine by using the Russian alphabet or vice versa. A graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, Gareth Jones was fluent in Welsh, German, French, and Russian. That fluency is reflected in the diaries, which contain passages in those languages and which Jones used to publish more than 20 newspaper articles upon his return to Great Britain. For Dr Gamache, the most compelling sections are those chronicling Jones’ unescorted 40-mile walking tour through villages, collective and state farms after Jones got off the train headed for Kharkov. In these Ukrainian villages Jones found children with swollen bellies, families without food, and unemployed workers without bread cards, doomed to a slow, painful death by starvation.

"By the time Western journalists were allowed back into Ukraine in the autumn of 1933, the worst of the famine was over and a new crop was being harvested," Dr Gamache writes. "The fate of the millions of Ukrainians starved to death became a contested, politicized issue, and remained as such for decades."

After Jones’ murder in Manchuria, in 1935 the diaries remained lost for more than 50 years until Colley discovered them at the Jones’ family home in Barry, South Wales. In 2003 his mother, Dr Margaret Siriol Colley, delivered a speech on Jones’ reporting as part of the Ukrainian Diaspora’s 70th anniversary commemorations of the Holodomor. The diaries were first exhibited in November 2009 by Dr Rory Finnin at The Wren Library, Trinity College, Jones’ alma mater. Stories about this exhibition were published in over 200 newspapers worldwide.

Professor Luciuk observed that The Holodomor: Occasional Papers Series is intended to disseminate important documentary evidence and new research on the Great Famine of 1932-33. The first volume published was the 1953 speech by Raphael Lemkin, "Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine," in which the ‘Father of the UN Genocide Convention’ specifically identified the Ukrainian famine as a classic example of a Soviet genocide.

Further Information:

  1. Copies are available:

    1. From the Publisher: for $45 + $10 postage and handling from: The Kashtan Press, 849 Wartman Avenue, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7M 2Y6.

    2. In the UK & Europe: for £40 + £5 postage within UK (or at cost for other destinations), please contact Naomi Field at

  2. Online images of these Soviet diaries (but without transcriptions & translations) can be seen HERE.

  3. Review of  “Tell Them We Are Starving”: The 1933 Soviet Diaries of Gareth Jones by Anne Applebaum in the New York Review of Books (April 7, 2016), entitled 'The Victory of Ukraine' can be seen HERE online. This joint review by Anne Applebaum also included; "The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine" by Serhii Plokhy, Harvard University (pictured here on a visit to Cambridge in 2012, with myself, Nigel Colley & Dr. Rory Finnin, Head of the Slavonic Studies department, Cambridge University) and Dr Ray Gamache's own biography; Gareth Jones: Eyewitness to the Holodomor.

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