Guto’s North Wales Weekly News column - 14th November 2018 // Colofn Guto yn y North Wales Weekly News - 14 Tachwedd 2018

Remembrance Sunday:

As you all know this year was the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War.  I have been constantly surprised at the growing turnout for Remembrance Sunday since my election in 2010 with numbers increasing dramatically since the efforts to commemorate the First World War started back in 2014.  This year was a fitting pinnacle for those efforts and the numbers at services throughout the Constituency of Aberconwy were a testament to the way in which this anniversary has clearly touched the hearts of local people.

Llandudno once again featured on television coverage of Remembrance Day whilst crowds at communities across the Conwy Valley and our coastal communities were significant.  I would like to publically thank Mr. Billy Baxter from the Blind Veterans charity for doing me the honour of laying my wreath at the cenotaph in Llandudno whilst I am also grateful to Mrs Anne Roberts, former Mayor of Conwy for doing the same on my behalf in Conwy and Llandudno Junction.  Councillors Adele Channer-Clark and Aldean Channer also did me proud in Llanrwst.  Thank you.

I was not in the constituency myself since I was visiting Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau in my capacity as a member of the All Party Group on Anti-Semitism.  In particular I wanted to see for myself the educational work undertaken at the camps and as such I am grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for facilitating my visit.  I do not think anything can prepare you for the experience of visiting these death camps.  I studied the Holocaust as a student and have continued to read around the subject ever since but the visit simply hammers home the immense suffering and the depths of depravity which occurred as a result of the Nazi conquest of most of mainland Europe.

The educational importance of the two museums were clear from the vast numbers of school children and organised student trips which were there whilst I was visiting.  The sight of a group of Israeli schoolchildren, clearly deeply affected by what they were seeing.  It was very difficult not to be profoundly moved.

On Sunday we were remembering all service personnel who have lost their life in the service of their country but in particular we were remembering the young men who fell in the Great War – a war in which they were told they were fighting “a war to end all wars”.  I could not help but reflect on the fact that less than a quarter of a century later a war of unparalleled ferocity was raging across Europe and much of the rest of the world which gave cover to some of the most shameful episodes in the History of mankind.  If nothing else, the Commemorations of the First World War since 2014 and the work of organisations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust are making one common plea – never again.            

 

Sul y Cofio:

Fel y gwyddoch i gyd, eleni oedd canmlwyddiant diwedd y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Ers fy ethol yn 2010, rwyf wastad wedi cael fy synnu gan y dorf gynyddol sy’n troi allan ar gyfer Sul y Cofio, ac mae’r niferoedd wedi cynyddu’n aruthrol ers yr ymdrechion i gofio’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf ddechrau yn 2014. Roedd eleni yn benllanw addas ar gyfer yr ymdrechion hynny ac roedd y niferoedd mewn gwasanaethau ar draws Etholaeth Aberconwy yn dyst i’r ffordd y mae’r garreg filltir hon yn amlwg wedi cyffwrdd â chalonnau pobl leol.

Unwaith eto, cafodd Llandudno sylw ar raglen deledu ar Sul y Cofio a chafwyd torfeydd mawr mewn cymunedau ar draws Dyffryn Conwy a’n cymunedau arfordirol. Hoffwn ddiolch yn gyhoeddus i Mr. Billy Baxter o’r elusen Blind Veterans am fod cystal â gosod fy nhorch ar gofgolofn Llandudno tra rwyf hefyd yn ddiolchgar i Mrs Anne Roberts, cyn Faer Conwy am wneud yr un peth ar fy rhan yng Nghonwy ac yng Nghyffordd Llandudno. Roeddwn hefyd yn ddiolchgar iawn i’r Cynghorwyr Adele Channer-Clark ac Aldean Channer yn Llanrwst. Diolch ichi.

Nid oeddwn yn yr etholaeth fy hun gan fy mod yn ymweld ag Auschwitz ac Auschwitz-Birkenau yn rhinwedd fy swydd fel aelod o’r Grŵp Hollbleidiol ar Wrth-semitiaeth. Yn benodol, roeddwn am weld drosof fy hun y gwaith addysgol a wneir yn y gwersylloedd ac i’r perwyl hwnnw rwy’n ddiolchgar i Ymddiriedolaeth Addysg yr Holocost am hwyluso fy ymweliad. Nid oes dim a all eich paratoi am y profiad o ymweld â’r gwersylloedd angau hyn. Astudiais yr Holocost fel myfyriwr ac rwyf wedi parhau i ddarllen am y pwnc erioed ers hynny, ond os ewch yno nid oes dianc oddi wrth yr erchylltra a’r dioddefaint aruthrol a ddigwyddodd o ganlyniad i goncwest y Natsïaid dros ran eang o dir mawr Ewrop.

Roedd pwysigrwydd addysgol y ddwy amgueddfa i’w weld yn glir o’r llu o blant ysgol a thripiau myfyrwyr a oedd yno yn ystod fy ymweld i. Gwelais grŵp o blant ysgol Israelaidd, a oedd yn amlwg dan gryn deimlad oherwydd yr hyn a welent. Roedd yn anodd iawn peidio â chael eich cyffwrdd hyd at ddagrau.

Ddydd Sul, roeddem yn cofio holl bersonél y lluoedd arfog sydd wedi colli eu bywyd yn gwasanaethu eu gwlad, ond yn arbennig roeddem yn cofio’r dynion ifanc a syrthiodd yn y Rhyfel Mawr – rhyfel lle dywedwyd wrthynt eu bod yn ymladd “rhyfel i ddiweddu pob rhyfel”. Allwn i ddim helpu â myfyrio ar y ffaith, llai na chwarter canrif yn ddiweddarach, fod rhyfel mwy ffyrnig nag a welwyd o’r blaen yn ymledu’n wyllt ar draws Ewrop ac mewn sawl man arall ar draws weddill y byd gan guddio rhai o’r penodau mwyaf cywilyddus yn Hanes y ddynoliaeth. Yn wyneb pob dim arall, yr un yw cri digwyddiadau Coffau’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf er 2014 a gwaith sefydliadau megis Ymddiriedolaeth Addysg yr Holocost – byth eto.