The German military graveyard at La Cambe, Normandy
La Cambe Travel Blog› entry 4 of 12 › view all entries
Within a clearing dotted with trees and small dark stone crosses lie the remains of more than 21,000 German soldiers, sailors and airmen. In the center, topped by a large dark cross, which is flanked by statues is an impressive tumulus, which marks the resting place for 207 unknown and 89 identified German soldiers, interred together in a mass grave.
The War Cemetery at La Cambe was originally the site of a battlefield cemetery, established by the American Graves Registration Service during the war, where American and German soldiers, sailors and airmen were buried in two adjacent fields. After the war had ended on the continent and paralleling the work undertaken to repair all the devastation that the war had caused, work began on exhuming the American remains and transferring them in accordance with the wishes of their families.
Because of the pace of the war, the German war dead in Normandy were scattered over a wide area, many of them buried in isolated field graves - or small battlefield cemeteries. In the years following the war, the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfüsorge) sought to establish six main German cemeteries in the Normandy area, with the one here at La Cambe started in 1954 following the signing of the Franco-German Treaty on War Graves. During this period the remains of more than 12,000 German soldiers were moved in from 1,400 locations in the French departments of Calvados and the Orne. The German War Cemetery at La Cambe was inaugurated in September 1961. Since that date, the remains of more than 700 soldiers have been found on battlefields across Normandy, and reinterred at La Cambe.
The majority of the German war dead buried at La Cambe fell between June 6 and August 20 1944 and their ages range from 16 to 72. They died during the Allied landings and the ensuing combat.