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Campaigning journalist's famine diaries go on show

The diaries of a revered South Wales journalist responsible for exposing a devastating famine in Eastern Europe are now on display for the first time at the University of Cambridge.

Gareth Jones, of the Western Mail, walked through the Ukrainian countryside and witnessed first hand the starvation being inflicted upon its people by Stalin’s government during 1932 and 1933.

Up to 10m Ukrainians are estimated to have died in the ‘Holodomor’ but the story was denied by the Soviet government and western journalists for decades, only fully coming to light following the fall of communism.

Gareth is revered in the Ukraine – 12 months ago he was awarded the country’s posthumous Order of Freedom – and these diaries describe in detail the full horror of what he witnessed.

He wrote them while he trekked across Ukraine and they formed the basis of the reports he filed.

The diaries have been kept by his family and are on display to coincide with a new feature-length documentary called ‘The Living’ about Mr Jones and the famine which received its British premier earlier this month.

Rory Finnin, Ukrainian studies lecturer at the University of Cambridge, said: “Jones was the only journalist who risked his name and reputation to expose Holodomor to the world.

“His diaries are a stirring historical record of an often forgotten tragedy of the 20th century.”

Mr Jones was publicly discredited following publication of the stories and was banned from the USSR.

In 1935, he was murdered by bandits while working in China aged just 29 in circumstances which suggested involvement by the Soviets.

  • The diaries are on display at Trinity College, where Mr Jones was a student, until mid-December. For more information visit