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Hitler, Stalin and Mr. Jones

2012 ,    »  -   17 Comments
Ratings: 7.37/10 from 75 users.

In this film George Carey is searching for a site of murder which took place in Inner Mongolia, Northern China, nearly 80 years ago. The only video of the man who died is just a few seconds taken at a meeting with Adolf Hitler. The murdered man was a brilliant Welsh journalist called Gareth Jones. He was trying to find out what the Japanese army was plotting in China.

His greatest scoop had been to expose the story few dare to put their name to. It made him enemies among those who wanted to hide the truth. So was he a victim of a Soviet vendetta or the chance casualty of a life lived dangerously? He was last seen somewhere in the intimidating landscape of Northern China, prisoner of bandits whose language he couldn't speak. For most of his adult life his gift for languages had opened every door, but among these Chinese bandits singing in Welsh was his last resort.

Gareth Jones had trespassed into a snake pit of international intrigue. What came back from China was his ashes, fading photographs of him in strange company and an echo of his final days through a letter he never posted. His last week had been the most exciting he ever had in his life, packed with adventures and strange encounters. And before long he was forgotten.

Now a story of an extraordinary life has emerged. At its center is not Wales where he lived, nor China where he died, but Russia. By the time he made his first trip to Russia there had been revolution against the Czar and a bloody civil war. Gareth by then was 25; he just left Cambridge and spoke Russian well. At one level he was making a sentimental journey into his mother's past, but it was also a journey into a present that Gareth found fascinating.

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17 Comments / User Reviews

  1. chard01

    Remarkable Man and seemingly the Apple didn`t fall far from the Tree.

  2. ghpacific

    Great documentary on an unknown story. Good companion piece to 'Long Road Round' motorcycle trip that refers to the 'Road of Bones' in Siberia. Stalin and Pol Pot, whadda bunch of kidders!

  3. Lowball

    "A graduate of Cambridge and spoke Russian fluently." Probably one of those socialist Cambridge types who were fascinated with Communism at the time of the revolution and were recruited by the KGB as a sleeper. Obviously never caught by MI-5 during the 1930's.
    Otherwise, a very fascinating and interesting life. Great documentary.

  4. bringmeredwine

    An intriguing but sad documentary about an ambitious, naïve journalist with a conscience.
    I read Blood Lands and it was an extremely detailed and well researched book. Depressing though!

  5. Fabien L'Amour

    His mother inspired him to visit Yuzovka in 1930 as she was a tutor there for 3 years before the communist revolution.

    I don't think he was a Soviet agent because in 1933, he published in Berlin a press release decrying the famine in Ukraine and Russia and was hence banned from ever visiting the Soviet Union again.

    Also, the KGB was founded in 1954 so he couldn't possibly be recruited by that organization.

  6. Lowball

    Thanks for your insight. I was merely speculating based on Cambridge University's history with the Soviets in the 1930's. I threw in the KGB name because I didn't know what spy agency was current at that time. Your post puts my suspicions to rest. Thank you.

  7. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    NKVD or GRU, something like that. "Soviet spooks" is close enough.

  8. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    Very interesting. The naive like Trotsky, Reilly, and Mr. Jones were baited into their own assassinations by the evil Communists, but the brilliant Dr. Willhelm Reich, having escaped from the Nazis AND from the Soviets, was done in by the American F.D.A.! Those are the guys that brought you Thalidomide.

  9. Shirley Algie

    The chances of a similar thing happening with todays journalist leaving a plethora of handwritten notes, journals, and letters to be investigated and placed in history would be slim to 0. Its all on computers now and anyone can enter data.

  10. dmxi

    a patsy...not so influential as '...von sebottendorf or trebitsch-lincoln',if you're interested in dodgy characters of ww2.

  11. Helen F

    The KGB didn't exist prior to 1954. Great assumption (however fictional) though. You must be USAmerican, am I right!!?.

  12. NX2

    ah ah, a might be right, but have you ever been in his shoes? Aren't we all patsies in our lounge chair?

  13. bringmeredwine

    It must have been very exciting for people to find all that stuff and piece his writings together!
    As a result of their efforts, I think the documentary makers did a great job of telling Gareth's story.

  14. cdnski12

    Another western journalist who thought his passport provided immunity. A passport written in English means nearly nothing to an illiterate bandit or Jihadi. One feels sorry for his family; but he chose to go into an extremely dangerous situation. Governments can't babysit every shirt tail journalist ... particularly those with murky connections to espionage agencies.

  15. RileyRampant

    what a history. a journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about genocide. disregard the dismissive comments by people who aren't fit to tie this man's shoes

  16. Fudgefase

    Very odd music to go with it.

  17. tim

    Excellent documentary about power, corruption. betrayal and a brave,(but naive) young man.

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