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Gareth Vaughan Jones
"Kidnapped in life by bandits, kidnapped in death by Banderites"
Gareth Jones is thought of today as one of history’s most courageous and honest journalists. During the first half of the 1930s he wrote profusely on everything from international affairs to Welsh culture and was an intimate witness to the historic events of his time. Finding himself in contact with many of the important personalities of the day, most famously Adolf Hitler, he developed a precocious, and much sought after, understanding of world affairs. He is best known for his part in the exposure of the Great Soviet Famine in 1933 and for the backlash he received as a consequence. He also reported on the rise of Nazism, the failures of Bolshevism as well as the travails of capitalism. Through most, if possibly not all, of his writing career he presented the facts as he saw them and tried to steer away from the temptation to shape public opinion to fit his own. In a profession where, not least today, the piper plays the tune of he who pays his wages, Gareth’s circumstances generally allowed him to be a free-spirted, free-minded and a truly freelance journalist. He was a gifted linguist and an inveterate traveller whose politics were liberal, pacifist and internationalist. He praised where praise was due and condemned where condemnation was deserved. This website, as it is not a hagiographic one, will aim to continue in that spirit and address Gareth’s occasional flaws and mistakes as well as his many and remarkable achievements. Thanks to those achievements, in his heyday, the newspaper readers of South Wales were some of the best informed people in the world. Through Gareth’s eyes they were able to see the cataclysmic changes then going on across Europe. But after his untimely death at the age of 29 Gareth’s voice was silenced. The opprobrium he had received for reporting truthfully on famine across the Soviet Union unfairly tarnished his reputation and after his death he was soon forgotten by the world. His memory was nonetheless kept alive by his surviving family, and thanks largely to the efforts of his niece Margaret Colley and great nephew Nigel Colley, Gareth was given his rightful place in history, and the importance of his work was finally recognised. But, if Gareth has been brought back to life, in passing through the prism of that resurrection his story has emerged with aspects of it often changed or denied. The Gareth Jones Society aims to remember and present all aspects of Gareth’s story in an accurate, apolitical way.
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