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Family of Welsh hero Gareth Jones fear plaque unveiled in Kyiv is co-opting his legacy ‘in the cause of Holocaust revisionism’

09 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Gareth Jones reading the New Yorker. Photo The Gareth Vaughan Jones Estate

Christopher Evans

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 trilingual plaque was unveiled last week at the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.


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)

Fascinating life

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.

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Lubomyr Luciuk
Lubomyr Luciuk
7 months ago

Mr Colley has never read “Enemy Archives” and played only a very modest role in helping honour Gareth Jones – quite unlike the undersigned who has been actively involved in doing so for over two decades. I’m also co-editor of this book, published by a serious academic press and well-received by scholars who know about Ukraine in WW 2. I’m sorry to see Mr Colley making his uninformed comments about the Ukrainian nationalist movement. In contrast, the scoundrel, Walter Duranty, who flayed Gareth Jones and ruined his promising career, was at least articulate and knew what he was writing about.… Read more »

Philip Colley
Philip Colley
7 months ago
Reply to  Lubomyr Luciuk

I’d like to take issue with the above comment by Lubomyr Luciuk. Yes, Gareth would indeed have been appalled. He would have been appalled that, having been airbrushed out of history once before, he is now being co-opted into a campaign to airbrush out of history the well-documented role of Stepan Bandera and the OUN-B in the Holocaust. The great fear of Gareth Jones’ niece and official biographer, my mother Dr Margaret Siriol Colley, was that his story would be politicised. It would appear that her fear was prophetic. She was the person who actually knew Gareth and, together with… Read more »

Lubomyr Luciuk
Lubomyr Luciuk
7 months ago
Reply to  Philip Colley

As observed, Mr Colley has never read “Enemy Archives” – and conveniently forgets that I initiated the unveiling of plaques to Gareth Jones at the University of Aberystwyth, in Barry and in Kyiv, as well as publishing his 1933 diary and organizing the digitization of the Gareth Jones Papers. In none of those efforts did he play any significant role, much less contribute to the attendant costs. I worked on these projects with the late Dr M Colley and my departed friend, Nigel Colley, collegially. I’ve no regrets save for how those efforts have been tarnished by the unfounded remarks… Read more »

Russ Chelak
Russ Chelak
7 months ago

Indeed Gareth Jones was a veritable Cassandra, warning the world of what lay ahead. Sadly he was murdered after exposing the genocide in Ukraine while traveling with a “trading company” called Wostwag. Nigel Colley (RIP), the author of the excellent website that is linked in the article, discovered that Wostwag was a KGB front. No wonder the Russian driver along with the rest of the entourage were set free by the “bandits”. Alas, Gareth was shoved down the Memory Hole until Nigel and his mother discovered Gareth’s diaries and letters. As such it is appropriate to heed other elements of… Read more »

Philip Colley
Philip Colley
7 months ago
Reply to  Russ Chelak

Thank you for your input and your kind comments about my relatives. The Brüder in Not letters are indeed interesting as indeed is the Brüder in Not action group itself. It should be noted that Gareth received the letters you mention either directly from Adolf Ehrt, who was Brüder in Not’s organiser, or indirectly from Adolf Ehrt’s cousin Eric Schüler, Gareth’s main collaborator for his mission to Soviet Ukraine in 1933. Eric Schüler translated the letters for Gareth in April of that year just after his return from Moscow and their content indeed makes difficult reading. As well as detailing… Read more »

1 month ago I met Mr Colley long ago and knew his mother. I am sorry that he is pursuing the untenable argument that the Holodomor was not ethnically targeted. This research, with input from Russia ironically, shows the ethnic bias of the death rates, which was caused by special measures linked to Ukrainian ethnicity. To argue that the Holodomor was not a Russian genocide targeting Ukrainians when, because of such obfuscation, they launch another genocide targeting Ukrainians, in the knowledge that some will try and blind the public to the ugly reality of what happened is well… I will Not spell… Read more »

1 month ago see also. The Holodomor of this period was one of three famines which we can now show were ethnically targeted on Ukrainians and we need to expand the timeline accordingly. Looking at the plaque there is no mention of the Holocaust. I take great exception to the characterisation of the evil right wing Ukrainian diaspora. Anyone can look up my work on the links from Vote Leave and the Tories, my articles on PPE contracts and Harold Wilson. I have signed copies of the books had many e mail exchanges with Siriol and never ever sought to write her… Read more »

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