The German Cemetery At Orglandes

During the battle of Normandy the retreating German Army was forced to abandon their fallen to be buried by the Allies. After the war the German cemeteries were put into the hands of the French Authorities, and the American dead were transferred to St. Laurent. The German dead in isolated graves and small cemeteries were interred in over 1,400 places in Lower Normandy. The local population were not keen to have the former occupier in their cemeteries so the task of transferring them into larger provisional cemeteries and verifying the names of the fallen was given to the "Service Francais des Sepultures"  Many German families requested that their fallen be returned to Germany but the German Government was unable to afford the costs involved. The layout of this cemetery and the interning of the fallen German soldiers was undertaken by the "Volksbund" ( a voluntary association of German people for the care of war graves) between 1956 and 1961. The Volksbund from the outset involved Youth Groups and even today groups of youngsters can be see working during the summer holidays in the cemeteries, under the slogan  "Work for peace" The Germans buried in British cemeteries are cared for by the British War Graves Commission, The cemetery at Orglandes contains the remains of 10,152 fallen Germans, each headstone usually contains six or more bodies. The Germans say this is to show comradeship in death, but a more likely explanation is that after the war the French were reluctant to give the ground required for individual plots. Two graves here are very poignant, firstly block 27, row 11 grave 387.  Here rests Walter Munstermann who died in battle on D-day, his family also were killed on the same day in Germany during an Allied bombing attack. The second grave is in, block 27, row 11 grave 420. This grave contains the remains of 22 German prisoners of war, who died loading explosives near Bayeux on October 25th 1945. Their remains were impossible to separate, so all their bodies lie together.

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