German cemetery of La Cambe

Le cimetière de La Cambe, vue générale. Photo DMPA Régis Hidalgo

The german military cemetery of La Cambe, and the Garden of Peace...
On September 21st 1961, the German military cemetery of La Cambe was inaugurated. 21.222 fallen soldiers are buried here. Their graves call for peace. Today, a Garden of Peace composed of more than 1.000 trees is being created between the cemetery and the motorway. Small tablets beneath the trees will bear the names of the donors. Together with the adjacent cemetery this Garden, which was opened in September 1996, will form an unique war memorial worldwide.
The majority of the war victims lying here fell between June 6th and August 20th 1944. Many of these were very young men - only 18, 19 or 20 years old. They died during the landing of the Allied Forces and the ensuing combat. The American Graves Registration Service buried the Germans and their own casualties on two adjacent fields. In 1945 the Americans transferred two thirds of their fallen soldiers to the United States in accordance with the wishes of their families. For all the others the War Cemetery of St Laurent-sur-Mer (Colleville), about 15 kilometres from La Cambe, was created. In 1954, it was decidet in the Franco-German Treaty on War Graves to make La Cambe one of six central German war memorials in Normandy. The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge - German War Graves Commission - accepted this mission. From the battlefield graves in over 1.400 communities in the districts of Calvados and Orne the Volksbund workers recovered over 12.000 victims. Today victims' remains are still being found - more than 700 so far. Below the central tumulus crowned by the 5 m statue of the Holy Cross lie 207 unknown as well as 89 identified war victims. In 1958 the Volksbunds first international youth camp in France brought young people to La Cambe to help on the cemetery, later on soldiers from the Bundeswehr, too, assisted the Volksbund in maintenance and care on the cemetery.
On the big map of Normandy inside the information centre you can find the six German war cemeteries as well as those of all other nations. The tri-lingual exhibition (in English, German and French) shows the human suffering caused by war in Normandy. Photographs, various documents and texts describe individual destinies of Americans, British, French and Germans. A computer inside the information hall gives information on the names and exact locations of all American, British and German soldiers buried in Normandy. The names and the places of death of all French civilian war victims are also registered.
  • Le cimetière de La Cambe, vue du tertre. Photo DMPA Régis Hidalgo.

  • Le cimetière de La Cambe, vue générale. Photo DMPA Régis Hidalgo

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