- 14190 Urville, France
The Polish Military Cemetery in Urville-Langannerie, Normandy, is the only Polish cemetery of the region. The cemetery contains 696 graves, mostly from people who died during the capture of Caen and in the battle to close the Falaise gap.
On D-Day Caen was an important Allied objective as it was an essential road hub, strategically astride the Orne River and Caen Canal. The Germans defended this stronghold with all their power. It took six weeks of fighting and heavy shelling to capture the capital of Normandy. 30,000 Anglo-Canadian soldiers and 3,000 civilians lost their lives.
The last major battle of the Normandy campaign was fought in August 1944 in the so called Falaise-Argentan pocket, where the Allies encircled and destroyed a substantial part of the German forces. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of German soldiers managed to escape. A memorial on the spot traces the various stages of this bloody confrontation.
The Memorial Museum of Civilians at War in Falaise opened in 2016 and covers over 1,000 m² of exhibition. Each of the three floors focuses on a different theme: Occupation, Liberation and Reconstruction. The museum is dedicated to both the life and survival of civilians during WWII. Testimonies of survivors and a collection of objects and archives are presented.
The Polish First Armoured Division under command of general Maczek played an important role in the liberation of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The ‘black division’ was feared by its enemies and brought swift liberation to the occupied nations.
Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.