04 May 2022
The National Library of Wales will hold a special event in the Senedd next week to mark the contribution of the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who was the first western journalist to report on the famine in Ukraine.
His exposé was based on his own eyewitness testimony after travelling in the region and revealed the scale and horror of the Holodomor to an international audience.
The event on 12 May is being held to honour the contribution made by Gareth Jones to journalism and international affairs and to celebrate the conclusion of the digitisation of much of his archive held at the National Library of Wales.
Gareth Jones reported on the political tensions in Europe in the mid 1930s and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. The archives include the famous ‘Hitler diary’ kept by Gareth during his visit to Germany in the spring of 1933 and describes conditions and various events in Nazi Germany shortly after the Fuehrer had come to power there, and presents uncannily perceptive pen-portraits of Hitler himself and Goebbels.
Key to completing this digitisation project had been the generous financial support provided by the Temerty Foundation, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC), the Ucrainica Research Institute, and Russ and Karen Chelak.
Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Wales, said: “I am very grateful for the financial support we received to digitise Gareth’s archive as part of the Library’s digitisation strategy.
“It is an extremely important archive and can now be shared with historians and researchers across the world. We also owe a great debt to Gareth’s family for depositing the papers with us in the Library.”
Lubomyr Luciuk, Professor of Political Geography at the Royal Military College of Canada, said that Gareth Jones had “paid with his life” for breaking the story about the famine.
“This brave Welshman’s commitment to reporting on the horrors of what was happening, even as the Soviets, their fellow travellers, and even Western governments covered up the truth, needs to be remembered and hallowed, particularly at a time when Ukraine is again a victim of war, invasion and the genocidal agenda of Vladimir Putin and his KGB confederates,” he said.
Oksana Lodziuk Krywulych, Officer-at-large of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), said they were “honored to be a sponsor of the digitization of Gareth Jones diaries”.
“The UNWLA remains steadfast in its commitment to be a vehicle of awareness and education about the Ukrainian genocide, known as the Holodomor,” she said.
“The Ukrainian nation owes a debt of gratitude to Gareth Jones, a great man, who was not afraid to accurately report on the horrors of the Holodomor. He deserves to be honored and remembered for documenting the truth when it was denied by many in the West.”
She added that his reporting was “especially telling today as Ukraine is once again suffering a genocide”.
Sponsored by Mick Antoniw MS, the event will include presentations by Professor Lubomyr Luciuk and journalist Martin Shipton, together with readings of extracts from Gareth Jones’ diaries and letters by Julian Lewis Jones.