Family of Welsh hero Gareth Jones fear plaque unveiled in Kyiv is co-opting his legacy ‘in the cause of Holocaust revisionism’
The Family of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who exposed the appalling man-made famine in Ukraine in 1933, fear a new plaque unveiled in Kyiv is co-opting his legacy “in the cause of Holocaust revisionism”.
Jones witnessed first-hand the terrifying and tragic consequences of Stalin’s rapid collectivisation policy and was determined to make the world aware of the millions of people dying across the Soviet Union.
It is the fourth plaque to be unveiled in honour of the journalist from Barry, following unveilings in Aberystwyth, Barry, and most recently in Milan.
However, the family and estate of Jones, who was murdered in mysterious circumstances on 12 August 1935, just a day before his 30th birthday, have shared their concern that his legacy is “being co-opted in the cause of Holocaust revisionism.”
The unveiling of the plaque at the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, Kyiv, was also used to promote a controversial new book called Enemy Archives. The book, co-authored by Volodymyr Viatrovych and Lubomyr Luciuk, was written ‘in the spirit of Gareth Jones’, according to Viatrovych.
In 2019, Viatrovych, a controversial figure, was fired from his role as the head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for his revisionism and campaign to rehabilitate wartime far-right nationalists.
Philip Colley, the great-nephew of Gareth Jones and the Literary Executor of the Gareth Vaughan Jones Estate, believes that the book is part of a campaign to airbrush history, particularly the role of OUN-B (The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in helping the Nazis carry out the Holocaust in Ukraine during The Second World War.
Mr Colley told Nation.Cymru: “While we welcome anything that commemorates Gareth’s journalism, which includes giving a voice to all those Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakh victims of Stalin’s crimes, it is nonetheless distressing for the family to see our relative, a journalist known for his great integrity and humanity, being co-opted in the cause of Holocaust revisionism.
He continued: “Thanks to the way Gareth’s memory has been selectively restored, the world has been given a picture of him that serves solely the cause of Ukrainian nationalism rather than the whole cause of truth, which was the purpose of my great uncle’s life and career.”
“Gareth was a pacifist and an internationalist. To see his name being aligned with and even promoting the fascistic policies and activities of Stepan Bandera’s Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and their collaboration with Nazi Germany in the Holocaust is utterly deplorable.
“We state for the record that there is no connection between my great uncle and this book.”
The video of the presentation in Kyiv (with English subtitles)
The investigative journalist, who was the first foreign journalist to fly with Hitler after he became Chancellor, was largely ridiculed and ostracised following his exposé. When his life was cruelly cut short, Gareth Jones was predominately a forgotten journalist, his work either ignored or disregarded.
However, in 1999, his niece Dr Margaret Siriol Colley, discovered his diaries, notes and letters, and set about keeping Jones’ name alive.
Her tireless and diligent research into her uncle’s short but fascinating life produced two books, The Manchukuo Incident (2001) and More Than a Grain of Truth: The Biography of Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones (2005).
He has also been the subject of the BBC Storyville ‘Hitler, Stalin, and Mr Jones’, and the 2019 feature film Mr Jones.
In 2022, renowned Welsh journalist Martin Shipton also published a biography titled Mr Jones – The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Life and Death of Gareth Jones.
For more information visit: www.garethjones.org
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