La Cambe

La Cambe is the largest German Cemetery in Normandy, with 21,222 German Solders buried here. Most of them died during the first month of the fight to liberate Europe. Many of the fallen of both sides were buried here in two fields by The American Graves Registration Service, the Germans obviously in no position to bury their own dead. After the war two thirds of the Americans who were interred here were transferred to America in accordance with the wishes of their families. The other fallen Americans were transferred to St Laurent some 15 kms away. In 1954 the French and Germans signed a treaty on war graves and it was decided to re bury all the fallen Germans in six cemeteries. The German War Graves Commission (The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfusorge) accepted the task of identifying the last resting places of the German troops who were buried in over 1,400 villages scattered over two departments. Under the cross in the centre of the cemetery lie 207 unknown solders along with 89 who have been identified. Unlike the American and British War Graves Commission the German Commission is entirely voluntary and relies on gifts and collections to further its work. During the summer months you may see German school children tending the graves, they volunteer to work with the Volksbund during their school holidays. It is one of the ways the Volksbund hope to promote peace. Victims of the war in Normandy are still being found, even after fifty years, and in Russia the Germans are still buying their war dead.

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